On Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2, 2022, The Broad Stage will present the Los Angeles premiere of ODEON, a 2018 work created by New York based company Ephrat Asherie Dance founded by b-girl, dancer, and choreographer Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie. ODEON is a collaboration between Asherie and her brother Ehud Asherie, who is also the Musical Director for the company. In a New York Times article, Ms. Asherie said that this piece is “a tale of two families: her blood family and her dance family.” Tickets are now on sale for this innovative, high energy and exciting company that continues to investigate the narrative qualities of street and club style movements.
Ephrat Asherie Dance describes itself as an urban dance theater company that draws movements and rhythms from the so-called underground styles such as breaking, house, hip-hop, and vogue with the more mainstream contemporary esthetics. ODEON is set to music by Brazilian composer Ernesto Nazareth who blends together the rhythms of 20th century romantic music, samba and other popular Afro-Brazilian cadences. Ms. Asherie stated during an interview with the New York Times that the music for ODEON was so dense that she had to work at creating open space in the movement.
“I understood when I needed to create something totally a cappella — just the percussion. It’s music and dancing together and in a way, the club is that, too,” she stated. – Gia Kourlas, New York Times
Ms. Asherie began studying breaking in 2002 under Richard Santiago (aka Breakeasy). When asked by New York Times dance critic Gia Kourlas what it was like as a white woman to navigate her way through the underground club scene, she responded, “It’s obviously totally loaded. I recognize my privilege. I have a responsibility. This community gave me the strength, the courage. It opened up the freedom inside for me to go and be an artist in so many ways — stylistically, in terms of my vocabulary, in terms of my understanding of all of these aspects of culture and identity. If I am going forward and representing this, I want to be doing it with people in the community.”
For Ms. Asherie’s very first evening-length work, A Single Ride (2012), Ephrat Asherie Dance earned two Bessie nominations in 2013 for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer and Outstanding Sound Design by Marty Beller. The company has performed at numerous major venues including The Apollo Theater, Celebrity Series of Boston, Dixon Place, FiraTarrega, Guggenheim Works & Process, La MaMa, River to River Festival, Mass MoCA, New York Live Arts, Summerstage, and The Yard. Ephrat Asherie Dance first performed on the Inside/Out series at Jacob’s Pillow in 2013, returned the following season to present Step 4.2 in an exclusive production known as Unreal Hip-Hop, teamed with The Wondertwins and Decadancetheatre before premiering ODEON there in June of 2018.
Asherie is a regular guest artist with Dorrance Dance and has worked and collaborated with Doug Elkins, Rennie Harris, Bill Irwin, David Parsons, Gus Solomons Jr., and Buddha Stretch, among others. ODEON is an amazing and lively work that Asherie created in 2018 for six dancers and four musicians performing live and onstage. ODEON. It’s title is the same as the second Nazareth composition in the piece, “Odeon,” a name given by ancient Greeks and Romans for buildings used for public performances of music and poetry. The work had its premiere in the Doris Duke Theatre at Jacob’s Pillow Festival.
“Liz Thompson in The Berkshire Edge said, “The work is a gift. A visit to Ephrat’s world is uplifting. The dancers and musicians are stellar. She speaks eloquently of how the club culture is warm and welcoming to individuals no matter how they identify. All of this is quite clearly manifested in ODEON — the dancers and musicians work within a framework created by Asherie. There are moments of improvisation that, while not obvious to the audience, infuse the evening with abundant energy and joy.”
Several of the dancers and at least one musician in the Ephrat Asherie Dance company were born outside the US; Manon Bal (France), Val “Ms. Vee” Ho (Canada), Linda “LaNaija” Madueme (Nigeria), Ousmane “Omari Mizrahi” Wiles (Senegal West Africa), and Eduardo Belo (Bass). It is a wonderful example of talented artists from around the globe coming together to perform in the same company.
“Odeon brilliantly highlights Asherie’s skillful melding of vocabularies, and her mastery of both nuance and physical humor. But it’s the dancers’ intimate relationship with the music that makes the piece so satisfying, and it’s their glowing energy that makes it shine so brightly.” – Tresca Weinstein, Times Union
To watch a wonderful section from ODEON filmed during a performance at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, please click HERE.
|WHAT :||Ephrat Asherie Dance: ODEON|
|WHERE :||The Broad Stage Main Stage –
1310 11th St. Santa Monica CA 90401.
Parking is free
|WHEN :||Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2 at 7:30 PM.|
|TICKETS :||Prices Start at $35 (Prices subject to change)|
|Phone:||Box Office phone 310.434.3200|
|In Person:||Box office address
1310 11th St. Santa Monica CA 90401
Beginning three hours prior to performance.
To learn more about Ephrat Asherie Dance, please visit their website.
To find out more about The Broad Stage and their performance season, please visit their website.
Written by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle
Featured image: Ephrat Asherie Dance – (L-R) Linda Madueme, Omari Wiles, Valerie Ho, Manon Bal, Matthew West, Teena Marie Custer, and Ephrat Asherie in ODEON – Photo by Christopher Duggan