Melanie Rios, Dreaming of Greatness, at left First Person

First Person: homeLA (Los Angeles, CA)


Selen Ermanav Dance Theater, Stand Still - Segments

Selen Ermanav Dance Theater, Stand Still – Segments

There’s a grand experiment afoot; the intrepid folks at Pieter and the Dance Resource Center are seeking to infiltrate large private homes throughout Los Angeles with a “site-sensitive” dance series called homeLA. The concept is a mutually beneficial one; the city’s small but scrappy experimental dance community opens up new performance venues for itself, while the sites themselves are enhanced by evocative dance works that play off their unique architecture.

The first installment of homeLA took place this past weekend at the home of Chloë Flores and Tim Lefebvre—a stunning, custom-built modernist compound nestled at the top of Mount Washington. The four-story main house and adjoining guest house, which sit elegantly on a hillside and deftly engage indoor/outdoor dynamics with elements like sliding glass doors and hidden patios, offered many unique spaces for dancers to experiment with movement.

Melanie Rios, Dreaming of Greatness, at left

Melanie Rios, Dreaming of Greatness, at left

About 200 people piled into the place to check out the festivities, which gave the evening an electric energy but also made the experience feel scattered and dispersed at first. Distractions abounded and it could be hard to focus on the work. As you got used to the environment, however, things began to gel and subtleties became more articulated.

In the living room, dancers improvised movements while weaving in and out among guests. Looking out the back of the house, you could see Amanda Furches on an adjacent hill in the distance, dancing through trees in a bright red dress. Meanwhile on the ground closer to the house, Nick Duran enlisted audience members to gaze into the distance while dancers performed movements in their peripheral vision. On the roof of the guest house, Melanie Rios set up a bed and slept for the duration of the evening while a sign next to her proclaimed that she was Dreaming of Greatness. Rios was visible from the dining patio above her, which gave people a God-like view of the sleeping artist.

Absence: A History, performed by Sarah Jacobs, Aaron Kahn, Carol McDowell and Madison Page

Absence: A History, performed by Sarah Jacobs, Aaron Kahn, Carol McDowell and Madison Page

A few works that packed a stronger punch were saved for the end of the evening, which made for a satisfying finish. Flora Wiegmann did not disappoint with her highly anticipated Swimming Laps, in which she interacted, like a nymph from another era, with an outdoor pool that is still waiting to be completed and filled. Many people proclaimed Jill Stein’s ZZA Sduai Airbara, a spectacular sound/light/movement installation that took place inside the glass-walled recreation room, their favorite piece of the evening.

Flora Wiegmann, Swimming Laps

Flora Wiegmann, Swimming Laps

I’m excited to see more installments in this series. If you or someone you know owns a large home and are interested in participating, please get in touch with the folks at either Pieter or Dance Resource Center.