For one night only, Saturday, February 1, 2020, REDCAT will present Al Di Là: An Evening of Sound Works by the legendary postmodern dancer/choreographer/artist/writer and performance artist Simone Forti. Spanning over fifty years, the works on this program were arranged by Forti and Tashi Wada with Julia Holter, Jessika Kenney, and Corey Fogel.
Forti is known worldwide for her innovative and inspirational approaches to dance and movement, and her work now part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York. The press release for Al Di Là: An Evening of Sound Works states that the work “highlights Forti’s integral use of sound and deep and lifelong investigation of sound and music in relation to performance, language, movement, and dance”.
Born in Florence, Italy, Forti’s family moved to New York City in 1939 when she was still an infant. Later on, Forti studied for four years in the Bay Area with Anne Halprin, who referred to herself as a “breaker of the rules of modern dance”. She then moved to New York where she worked alongside and/or collaborated with such renown artists and composers as Nam June Paik, Steve Paxton, La Monte Young, Trisha Brown, Charlemagne Palestine, Peter Van Riper, Dan Graham, Yoshi Wada, Robert Morris and others. It was Forti’s 1961 concert Five Dance Constructions and Some Other Things that would prove to be a historic influence on not only the dance world, but also the art world.
In addition to her many dance works and Dance Constructions, Forti is the author of Handbook in Motion (1974, The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design), Angel (1978, self-published), and Oh Tongue (2003, Beyond Baroque Foundation, ed. Fred Dewey).
The work Forti will present at REDCAT is titled Al Di Là which translates to ‘beyond’ in Italian. The program includes historic solos, duets, and group pieces that until now were performed solely by Forti. They include Molimo (1970-present), a melodic playing of corrugated tubing; and a song of the Italian Alpine soldiers; Face Tunes (1968), employing a score based on people’s profiles; Censor(1961), a contest between full-out singing and “pan-full-of-nails” percussion; Thunder Makers (1969); Accompaniment for La Monte’s “2 Sounds” (1961); and others. I am told that there will also be a few surprises.
A concert that will forever live in my memory was a collaboration between Forti and choreographer, dancer, and who Carol Vogel of The New York Times called “A Buddha of American Dance” , Steve Paxton. In the spring of 2016, I wrote about this experience in an article titled A Conversation Between Steve Paxton and Simone Forti at REDCAT. To witness these two iconic Postmodern artists working together was one of the highlights in my time here in Los Angeles.
“A performance by Simone Forti is rare, like a little gem.” (The New Yorker). “These simple, eccentric, and beautiful oddities paint a picture of an artist working handmade miracles with her own unique curiosity.” (The Wire).
If you want to treat yourself to an amazing experience, go see Al Di Là: An Evening of Sound Works at REDCAT on Saturday, February 1, 2020. You will thank me later!
Written by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle, January 25, 2020.
For information and tickets, click here.
To learn more about Simone Forti, click here.
Featured image: Simone Forti – 2012 – Photo by Jason Underhill