Dancing With Tweets: And Other Terpsichorean News

By Victoria Looseleaf

We were thrilled to review David Roussève’s latest work, Stardust, for the LA Times last month at REDCAT (click here for our coverage, which makes use of texts and tweets to help tell a story). Stardust kicked off the second edition of RADAR L.A. festival, which was city-wide and also included Complicite’s astonishing performance of Shun-kin at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse.

The London-based troupe (right), led by Simon McBurney, in turn, kicked off CAP UCLA’s season, which looks to be stellar, courtesy of its artistic director, Kristy Edmunds. Hats off to her, then, for her brilliant taste, dedication and unrelenting enthusiasm for the performing arts in this town.

But back to Roussève and his company, Reality. We loved the performance (and had written about it for Dance Magazine last year as it began germinating in UCLA’s First Hand program). We’d also been assigned by that same publication to do an upcoming news story on Roussève.

The story was skedded to be published in January, when Stardust hits the road. Several days after the REDCAT show, we interviewed Roussève for the story, wrote it up and filed it. We were then informed that the editor who had assigned the piece (someone we’d worked with on numerous occasions), had left the publication and, that, in fact, Dance Magazine was going in a different direction and…couldn’t use the story as written.

We were unhappy, to say the least. And then we learned that Wendy Perron, editor-in-chief was no longer EIC, but is now editor-at-large (just what does that mean?), and that the publication whose first issue appeared in June, 1927, was no longer going to be running any reviews…at all. It made sense that Dance Mag stopped running print reviews last year (it’s got a long lead time, which made the reviews seem out of touch), and was only running online reviews. But to stop reviewing dance altogether?

We know times are tough for newspapers and magazines, but this is bizarre and, actually, very sad. Perhaps we’ll still be able to guest blog, filing our letters from such destinations as Venice and Lyon (click here and here for those epistles. From Venezia, at right, Konstanze Mello of Teatro Castro Alves; photo by Ramonah Gayã, Courtesy Biennale).

In the interim, we found a new outlet, and that is Australia’s Fjord Review. Stay tuned for our upcoming reviews on Susan Marshall at Royce Hall (11/9) and superstar ballerina, Diana Vishneva, in On the Edge at Segerstrom Center for the Arts (11/6-10). We first wrote about Vishneva for the LA Times in 2008, when she debuted her program, Beauty in Motion.

That ’08 concert, all world premieres, included one choreographed by Complexions Contemporary Ballet co-director, Dwight Rhoden. A duet, it was danced with one of our favorites, Desmond Richardson (below), the other half of Complexions. (This fabulous company was at the Ford Amphitheatre a few months ago; click here for our LAT story).

And while there may be fewer outlets covering dance, there are, thank God, still a slew of companies forming, performing, and creating new works. We wrote the LAT story on Barak Ballet and also checked out its debut performance at the Broad Stage recently. Upcoming: We’ll be covering Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre for the LAT, with the queen of site-specific dance mounting a new work, Groundskeepers, at Linda Vista Hospital in Boyle Heights (two weekends, beginning 11/1). We’re also looking forward to seeing Martha Graham Dance Company on November 8, when the troupe inaugurates the new Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (aka the Wallis, below – one of its theaters used to be our post office, how cool is that!). Our LAT story prints November 3. Congrats, also, to executive director, Lou Moore, for what not only looks to be a fabulous new venue, but one that will also regularly present, among other performing arts, dance.

In the interim, tweet if you #LoveDance! (Cover photo: Maurizio Nardi, Lloyd Knight, and Blakeley White-McGuire in Martha Graham’s Maple Leaf Rag, photo by Costas)

About Victoria Looseleaf

Victoria Looseleaf is an award winning arts journalist and regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times, KUSC-FM radio, Dance Magazine, Performances Magazine and other outlets. She roams the world covering dance, music, theater, film, food and architecture. Have pen - and iPad - will travel! Her latest book, "Isn't It Rich? A Novella In Verse" is now available on Amazon. Thank you for reading! Cheers...
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