Feb. 27, 2013 - Issue #906: Tegan and Sara - Pop goes their world
About Anne / The Lotus Eaters
There's an unexpected connection between what are otherwise very different pieces of literature: Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl is a staple of high school English classes, while the story of The Lotus Eaters is a chapter from Homer's Odyssey, as well as a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
"It is an interesting combination and I really credit Alberta Ballet for putting them together," says Laura Gorenstein Miller, Los Angeles-based choreographer and founder of Helios Dance Theater, who created About Anne: A Diary in Dance independently from another of her works, The Lotus Eaters.
The first part of this new production is a half-hour excerpt from About Anne, the original being about twice as long.
"I use dance, film, sound design and movement to tell Anne's story. It's quite theatrical," says Gorenstein Miller.
"I like the choreography to be very expressive," she continues. "I'm not just interested in pretty lines and pretty pictures. I want to really express and connect to the audience through movement and dance, but I also think Anne's story is pretty complicated—it was a narrative I wanted to follow; it wasn't an abstract piece or idea. So therefore I needed other mediums to tell the story."
The second half of the evening is a full production of The Lotus Eaters, which Gorenstein Smith describes as a highly physical, visually enthralling tour de force, with costumes created by Rami Kashou of Project Runway, a stunning backdrop painted by visual artist Alison Van Pelt, and an original music score composed by singer-songwriter Grant Lee-Phillips.
Despite being based on older works of literature, The Lotus Eaters deals with very contemporary issues of addiction and escapism; it is also set against a backdrop of war similar to that in About Anne, and it depicts how human beings react in the face of extreme adversity.
"Part of what inspired me is how strong and amazing and alive [Anne Frank's] spirit was, and still is," says Gorenstein Miller. "The piece isn't just about the tragedy of it all; it's very much about how amazing it is that her story is still so powerful and relevant today.
"Despite everything that happened to her, she still believed that human beings were still good. She's an optimist. Her spirit lives on, and it's strong forever."
Fri, Mar 1 & Sat, Mar 2
Presented by Alberta Ballet
& Helios Dance
Jubilee Auditorium vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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