BWW Review: L. A. CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY "THE ONLY CONSTANT" IS CHANGE at The Odyssey Theatre

BWW Review: L. A. CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY “THE ONLY CONSTANT” IS CHANGE at The Odyssey Theatre

"The Only Constant' is a very interesting, provocative dance piece. It is a 55-minute piece, and the stamina needed to perform this work is exceptional. The dancers are uniformly strong and have a full understanding of the intent. This has been in development for a few years and is the work of Genevieve Carson, whose work is known for addressing the human condition. In this piece, she deals with how we affect and interact with one another, one thing leads to another and the fine line between composure and chaos. The style is Reactive; choreography and storyline wise. The movement dictated the story line and the emotions felt were as a reaction to that movement.BWW Review: L. A. CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY “THE ONLY CONSTANT” IS CHANGE at The Odyssey Theatre

A part of "Dance At The Odyssey 2019," produced by Barbara Mueller-Wittman and Beth Hogan, it is a part of celebrating contemporary dance works created by Los Angeles Artists.

How every moment and movement is altered by interaction with something else - it shows in the movement and choreography and body language. It gives a human quality to the many moments of wonderment and trepidation. The dancers are challenged to grapple with feelings of frustration and exhaustion, and ultimately required to question their own motivation to exist. BWW Review: L. A. CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY “THE ONLY CONSTANT” IS CHANGE at The Odyssey Theatre

Four strong dancers, both dance-wise and stamina-wise, JM Rodriguez, Ryan Ruiz, Drea Sobke and Tiffany Sweat danced quite strenuously for almost an hour, giving us a picture of action, reaction and interaction. Choreographer Genevieve Carson chose wonderful musical pieces, mostly classical compositions that contained very vibrant and melodic substance ~ Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Satie to begin with and thrown in for shock value and comic relief, Mas Que Nada, (Sergio Mendes) a few times... Los Angeles based composer Robert Amjarv constructed the music program, accentuating and amplifying certain sections of the music to tweak the mood or dynamic of the effect.

BWW Review: L. A. CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY “THE ONLY CONSTANT” IS CHANGE at The Odyssey TheatreIt began tentatively, with a lone dancer (Ryan Ruiz) standing, facing upstage center, and very slowly, feeling his way behind him, inching forward ever so cautiously. The set was sparse, containing only five lampshades placed around the stage, above the dance floor. Upstage left, something was slowly oozing from one of the lampshades, somewhat like sand from an hourglass, marking the advance of time going by, it seemed.

As we start to hear ocean waves and seagulls, he begins to dance, soon joined by Tiffany Sweat, to a cello solo that moves them between the floor and each other, exploring their interaction, then adding another dancer, Drea Sobke, where they begin a sort of challenge, daring and crossing each other, evoking a response or a reaction that leads them to the next emotion or movement, or to retreat and begin anew. When the final dancer, JM Rodriguez joins in, they seem to connect, bond, and then there is a breaking off, or a disconnect. It represents the struggle in life, to keep moving forward, even when we get constantly pushed back. It gives a sense of compassion to others when they don't advance at the same rate, and conversely, feelings of urgency to level the playing field.

BWW Review: L. A. CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY “THE ONLY CONSTANT” IS CHANGE at The Odyssey Theatre

This is where each dancer asserts their own feelings and personality into what they are feeling, giving them more of an identity and significance within the piece. It morphs into each of them trying to help each other, as they wax and wane, feeling strength and then crumbling; until one of the lampshade chains is pulled down, and a torrent of sand falls upon the second male dancer. This exacerbates the situation, causing them to exit and enter, quickly and rapidly, carrying more sand and dumping it in clumps all over the stage, walking and strutting as if they were some kind of strange shorebird, doing their thing. At one point, Ryan Ruiz is rolling convulsively in all of the sand, and is interrupted by Drea Sobke, trying to control him, which they take turns doing to each other, all while the two others are throwing more and more recklessly, more sand. It erupts into madness and mayhem, with sand flying everywhere, and the dancers move to a beautiful operatic aria. As one of the male dancers drop-spins on his back as his partner holds an arm, the music switches abruptly to "Mas Que Nada," which completely changes their course. In a tight, controlled, very purposefully silly dance, they wiggle and seem in a daze, giving the impression it is a welcome diversion from reality. BWW Review: L. A. CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY “THE ONLY CONSTANT” IS CHANGE at The Odyssey TheatreThe music stops and a piano solo begins, where they all take turns lifting each other, spinning around the stage. The rest of the performance is spent repeating these actions, with plenty of nice, clean dance sections within. As the music comes to a climax, they seem exhausted, out-of-breath, and done in. The sound of waves are filtered in as we watch more sand be scattered about.

Make sure to see the remaining dance pieces in this presentation of Los Angeles-based artists' work ~ through February 10th, 2019, at The Odyssey Theatre, in West L. A.

Photos by Robbie Sweeney

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From This Author Valerie-Jean Miller

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