I have been to a few of Electric Lodge’s Flower of the Season performances now, but its tenure long outlasts my visits: Roxanne Steinberg and Oguri have been curating and presenting local artists through this grant-supported program for around 20 years. In an intimate, magical venue like this one, community flows freely. Here, I always meet new artists who surprise and impress with the caliber and breadth of their practice.
Dani Lunn began the evening with a resonant solo called STARLIGHT BLOOM: a flowering memory of alchemical stars, peacefully simple but profound. She moved across what seemed to be a narrow corridor upstage, listening intently and embodying her understanding with deep care. She marked her place with a few motifs as she began to stray from the corridor: most memorably digging her flexed heel into the ground to rotate her leg back and forth, arms reaching up and then folding back in as if calling, recalling.
I was so drawn into her focus that I attempted to open my eyes and ears to see if I could take in what she was observing. To be welcomed into her practice, in just a few moments’ time, shifted my awareness to softer, broadened state. It was as if she was examining time as it enveloped her, holding it in her consciousness. Lighting designer Carol McDowell’s ability to frame and create outer space from a tiny black box made the piece even more omniscient.
Hyoin Jun’s BLOOM TO FALL painted a rich lifetime in nostalgic gestures and shapes, with some of the most impressive integration of prop work I’ve seen to date. Sound design by Electric Lodge mainstay Zenji Oguri had me convinced at one point that bubbles had truly turned into bees, the theatre suddenly a lively forest. Jun’s attention to the props and what they represented made each second feel important.
He sculpted pivotal moments of the human life with tenderness and reverence, as well as with athletic strength. A mind-bending sequence with an untied balloon—kept inflated in the crook of his knee as he twisted around it at varying levels, including on the floor—made me gasp aloud, a physical feat as well as a creative one. The ingenuity of his choreography was tinted with familiarity, both astonishing and wonderfully warming.
Daeun Jung drew the focus into the center with KKOT (꽃), asking the audience to sit around the perimeter of the stage. Her solo investigated composition through the lens of Korean classical dance principles, assigning lines from Yun Dong-ju’s Korean poem “Flowers Bloom in the Garden” to movements. As she strung them together, rearranging and reorienting with deliberate care, patterns emerged and dissipated.
Jung was somehow both matter-of-fact and accommodating, addressing the audience with each direction shift and playing with the meanings of text and movement as they interacted. The organization of each movement in its boundaries was comforting, assuring. Watching evoked little bits of ecstasy, when you could predict her next step and watch her delight in it.
Destefano DeLuise’s LOTUS BORN closed the show, with cellist Gyda Valtysdottir weaving the sound. She emulated the life cycle of the lotus flower, growing out of mud and into fluttering petals, wise in her understanding of joy and suffering. In the mud, she embodied effort: a struggle in the ground that translated into strength as she grew.
The pain stayed with her as she graduated toward the petals, and in Valtysdottir’s score as well, contributing to a dynamic landscape of light and dark, light and heavy. A beautifully haunting song from her lips mourned loss and rebirth, and she made her way back into the earth to begin again.
My personal recommendation is—and remains—that the Flower of the Season offerings at Electric Lodge are always worth seeing. Within the walls of this humble space, there is deep cultivation and welcoming community, and that is always felt.
To learn more about The Electric Lodge, please visit their website.
To read more about Roxanne Steinberg and Oguri, please visit their website.
Written by Celine Kiner for LA Dance Chronicle.
Featured image: Dani Lunn in STARLIGHT BLOOM – Photo by Denise Leitner