At the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya), on Saturday, October 28th Tiler Peck’s Turn It Out produced one of the most extraordinarily brilliant and inventive evenings in dance. It sent the sedate audience up and out of their seats. But more than that, it introduced masterful invention and creativity that has not been seen around these parts in decades. At the risk of being overly effusive, it was a once in a lifetime experience and if anyone is willing to make the trek to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa on November 4 & 5, you will never regret it
Tiler Peck’s opening piece, Thousandth Orange, done with the encouragement of Mikhail Baryshnikov, was a design piece in pastel introducing her dancers India Bradley, Chun Wai Chan, Jovani Furlan, Christopher Grant, Mira Nadon, Quinn Starner along with superb musicians; Emily Call (Violin), Mads Falcone (Viola), Betsy Rettig (Cello), and Basia Bochenek (Piano).
It was followed by Alonzo King’s beautiful pas de deux Swift Arrow with music by Jason Moran, played by Pianist Basia Bochenek. This work was an introduction of the spirited creator of the evening, Tiler Peck with the powerful Roman Mejia, an exquisite pairing of wild abandon, strength, support and, yes, love. It is clear they loved working with each other, they looked beautiful together, they know each other’s body and creative rhythm. The generosity of spirit and giving in King’s piece, juxtaposed the effortless arms, footwork and ease of partnering that showed such care for each other. It calmed down even the most harried of onlookers and was a revelation that allowed us to begin to know the dancers as people.
Then came the extraordinary Time Spell by the triple threat genius of Michelle Dorrance, Jillian Meyers and Tiler Peck. With outrageous music by Aaron Marcellus and Penelope Wendtlandt. They wisely led us from just one tapping sound through an unbelievable musical and dance journey that exploded into pure joy and abandon of the fiercest kind. The unreal tap, ballet, jazz, hip hop and African dance, melded with Marcelus and Wendtlandt’s sounds and singing that so seamlessly transitioned from drone to jazz to the etherealness of opera …all done with such inventive teamwork that before we knew it, it had transcended the ordinary and lifted the whole theatre into an ascendant state of chaos and creativity. Dorrance’s incomparably tap choreography, the fire haired Jillian Meyers’ ungodly musicality and Peck’s amazing partnering of tap rhythms and point work stunned the audience. But then surrounded by the inspired syncopated power of the dancers India Bradley Chun Wai Chan, Christopher Grant, Lex Ishimoto, Roman Mejia, Mira Nadon, Quinn Starner, and Byron Tittle makes this impossible to describe…because it had never been done before. The combined vernacular of styles, performance of giants, sheer inventiveness and talent made this something that helped you realize that you were not crazy to yearn for an artistic “something”…Well here it is!!! Unexplainable and brilliant. It is a one-time, very live experience that cannot be explained.
To end the evening was William Forsythe’s The Barre Project, Blake Works II with music by James Blake. It was a stark reminder of the isolation of the Pandemic, with its aloneness and coming together (very radical at the time). If it be said after seeing the program, one might consider a realignment of pieces done with Forsythe’s piece existing somewhere in the middle of the program to then let Time Spell shine in our collective memory.
Do not miss this program…it’s a stunning gift of dance you will never forget. Thank you Tiler Peck and colleagues, for bringing such a heroic team together. We are so grateful!
Tiler Peck’s TURN IT OUT will appear at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts – 600 Town Center Drive Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Saturday, November 4th at 7:30pm
Sunday, November 5th at 2:00pm
Information and Tickets HERE.
For more information about The Soraya, please visit their website.
Written by Joanne DiVito for LA Dance Chronicle.
Featured image: (L-R) Michelle Dorrance and Tiler Peck in “Time Spell” – Photo by Christopher Duggan