The Los Angeles dance scene was hit hard over the last year from the pandemic, but with subsiding COVID-19 numbers in the state of California, performances are starting to bloom again. For LA Dance Moves, their return to the stage was a creative endeavor that developed through the long months when performing onstage wasn't an option for them.
Artistic Director of LA Dance Moves Nancy Paradis has teamed up with composer David Karagianis, who created the album Pulse, which combines improvisational abilities into the realm of electronic music. PULSE! - in two movements features Movement 1 – Journey and Movement 2 – STRUT with dancers Michelle Lebowski, Jenna Valdez, Greyson Myes and Hannah Barr.
The pieces were filmed for BalletProject.TV and will have their streaming world premiere this weekend beginning Saturday, May 1, and running through Sunday, May 2. Paradis explained to News Break why it was important to get back on their toes after such a long hiatus and how it has made a huge impact on her and the dancers. "It's about being alive! Feeling your pulse and pushing through barriers with more focus, more drive and more wisdom than before," she says. "It's also about having extreme gratitude to come together and do what we love and inspire our audiences. Creating this piece has been very healing for me and the dancers, and it was a gift to put together."
Karagianis' music was also a source of inspiration for Paradis to get back to the studio to create. "I love the complexities of David's music: the syncopation, the meter changes, the push, the energy — it's just jazzy and cool," she shares. "I wanted to challenge myself and the dancers, and his music definitely does that. The fact that he composed it for modern classes and now, we are doing our contemporary ballet twist with it is also exciting."
PULSE! began in a choreography workshop hosted by Ballerinas of Los Angeles along with LA Dance Moves. In preparation for filming, the company put the dancers' safety first by utilizing a hybrid format of both virtual, self-practice and in-studio rehearsals. "Dancers were sent videos of choreography to learn their solos and ensemble sections," Paradis explains. "We then worked together on Zoom, which was a great way to spend time individually with each dancer. Then we met for three in-studio rehearsals... and the fourth rehearsal was our filming day."
Filming took place in a Los Angeles warehouse filled with natural light, which only emphasized the overwhelming feeling for Paradis and her dancers to be back together shooting on-location. "When it was time to wrap, no one wanted to go home," she reminisces. "The dancers hung out for a bit taking photos and just enjoyed the space. Filming day was honestly a gift."
Tickets are on sale now for $10 at BalletProject.tv for the May 1 premiere beginning at 5 p.m. PDT, which not only includes the world premiere of PULSE!, but also behind-the-scenes footage and a look inside the artistic process of the LA Dance Moves experience. For Paradis, this is the light at the end of the tunnel after a very challenging year for artists. While it was hard, it also provided lessons in appreciation for the art of dance.
"I see other independent dance companies, as well as LA Dance Moves, doing everything we can to help dancers, the community and the arts as we keep moving forward," she sums up. "I feel dancers have a deeper gratitude for what I provide and anyone willing to help keep them dancing. My mission is to touch and inspire our audiences with our works and collaborations with artists — and coming to the end of this pandemic, people need inspiration more than ever."
For more information on LA Dance Moves, visit their website.
To purchases tickets for PULSE!, visit BalletProject.tv.