by Steven Woodruff
Ten years at the top is long time for any Los Angeles dance festival. Celebrate Dance presented at Glendale’s historic Alex Theatre has repeatedly proven its staying power and popularity as the only concert dance festival in Los Angeles that brings local companies the luxury of a big venue, fully realized production values, and an unusually diverse audience. Celebrate Dance 2015 is taking a look back at that remarkable history with a retrospective program that brings back audience favorites such as the iconic modern dance work “Out Of” (2006) from Pennington Dance Group and SoleVita Dance Company’s charming contemporary dance narrative “The Way West” (2013).
Joining them will be two contemporary ballet works, Marie de la Palm’s introspective “Le Coeur Illuminé” for Motion/Tribe and the beautifully crafted “Beyond the Edge” by Monat Dance. Both works, the first a solo and the second an ensemble piece, will be danced on pointe. BackhausDance which has gone on to tour nationally and internationally since its first appearances with Celebrate Dance a decade ago will reprise the elegant counterweighted duo “Push” from 2007. Joining them as another powerhouse of contemporary dance will be BARE Dance which returns to Los Angeles from its new home in New York City for an expanded redo of “Drift” from 2010. Viver Brasil with “In Motion” brings back its colorful, athletic, contemporary folkloric mashup with live music, while RhetOracle Dance Company and its edgy, youthful company will restage the dark fantasy “Dancing Man…a fairy tale” which originally premiered for Celebrate Dance audiences in 2012 as part of the full evening work “Fortune Telling”. Anchoring the show will be Glyn Gray and BPM beatsperminute with its hard edged, theatrical version of urban tap once again accompanied by a live on stage musical ensemble. They return after last year’s first-ever appearance of tap on the festival program. Look for the unexpected this time around when this ensemble takes the stage.
Executive Director Jamie Nichols has always made new and varied audiences part of the production. For the sixth year Celebrate Dance with the support of The Flourish Foundation will again welcome students from the Bancroft-Howe Magnate School in Hollywood as part of the production. Each year the school has hosted a series of dance master classes for the school’s students offered by the participating companies and then made available free tickets to the performance. Expect a special twist for 2015.
This vibrant festival has been an historic festival series for the Los Angeles dance scene for a decade. More than 70 companies have been presented along with a cross section of the city’s finest and most versatile dancers, lighting and set designers. If you’ve missed Celebrate Dance so far, now is your chance to catch up. The show runs for one night only at Glendale’s Alex Theatre, March 7th at 8 PM sharp. Tickets for Celebrate Dance 2015 are available through the Alex Theatre website or by contacting the Alex box office at 818-243-7700: ex 216.