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Review: Da Camera Society dances with American Contemporary Ballet

May 29, 2012|By Laura Bleiberg
  • American Contemporary Ballet dancers perform "L'Apotheose de Corelli" at the first Music   Dance: L.A. performance.
American Contemporary Ballet dancers perform "L'Apotheose… (Sam Muller )

The Da Camera Society introduced a welcome new series Monday evening, adding dance to its already popular mix of inspirational chamber music and architecture.

Music + Dance: L.A. brings together Da Camera, well-known for its concerts in landmark buildings, with American Contemporary Ballet, which relocated here from New York City two years ago. The first performances (a second set is scheduled in June) were in a sleek, if acoustically challenging, warehouse space near mid-Wilshire. American Contemporary Ballet is young, and its artistry is at a less sophisticated level than that of the A-list musicians, who included violinists Martin Chalifour and Mitch Newman, cellist Tao Ni, pianist Bernadene Blaha and harpsichordist Edward Murray.

In spite of this imbalance, Music + Dance: L.A. had the power of intimacy and instinctual coupling in its favor. Live music is a rare commodity at dance performances, making this a worthwhile idea to pursue.

American Contemporary Ballet's artistic director, Lincoln Jones, choreographed two abstract pieces, both reflecting the neo-classical style of George Balanchine. Indeed, Jones was channeling “Apollo” in his piece to Igor Stravinsky’s Serenade in A. Jones created a jazzy dance to this solo piano work, choreographing flexed feet and hands, thrusting hips and rhythmically complex pizzicato for dancers Zsolt Banki, Marie Buser, Theresa Farrell and Regina Park Suh.

His response to François Couperin’s “Le Parnasse, ou l’Apothéose de Corelli” (1724), was softer, more lyrical. Refracting the multiple colors of the instruments, the dancers faced off in different directions, stretching to emphasize a long and harmonious line.

Without the dancers, the musicians played Mozart’s Piano trio in C, K.548, and Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne. Chalifour and Blaha played the latter with such intensity that the audience did its own swaying, seated dance.

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Music + Dance: L.A. series, Part II, Da Camera Society and American Contemporary Ballet. 7 and 9 p.m. June 29-30. Location and complete program to be announced later. $40. www.dacamera.org or (213) 477-2929.

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