Los Angeles Dance Interview: DANIEL EZRALOW (Ezralow Dance at the Ford Amphitheatre)

by Myra Joy Veluz on September 7, 2014

in Theater-Los Angeles

Post image for Los Angeles Dance Interview: DANIEL EZRALOW (Ezralow Dance at the Ford Amphitheatre)

DANIEL EZRALOW: WHAT IS DANCE?

DANIEL EZRALOWTo say that Daniel Ezralow is a busy man this week is an understatement. After making a worldwide name for himself as a dancemaker and aerial choreographer for theater, film, opera, concerts, and television, Ezralow is debuting his new Los Angeles-based company, Ezralow Dance, at the Ford Amphitheatre this Saturday, September 13. The man who created magical movement for Cirque du Soleil’s The Beatles LOVE, Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, the film Across the Universe, and the opening ceremonies at the Sochi Olympics, is presenting a commissioned, site-specific piece to be accompanied by live music from the contemporary classical ensemble wild Up.

Ezralow, who was actually born right here in L.A. in 1957, took time from rehearsals to chat with Stage and Cinema. His career in dance began while he was a pre-med student at Berkley. In his early career he performed with Lar Lubovitch, Paul Taylor, Pilobolus, and was also one of the original dancers and choreographers of MOMIX. Given all the mediums for which he creates dance, Ezralow’s acknowledgment to me that his work “crosses fields” seems like a downright humble assessment.

In our discussion, Ezralow alludes to an old Oscar Wilde line: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” He said, “You have to remember why you are doing what you do. As a dancer, ego comes with the territory when you stand in front of thousands of people; but as a choreographer you have to be sensitive, open, and willing. You have to really commit because it’s not about ego. As a choreographer you have to put that aside.”

Ezralow Dance - photo by Paolo LaudicinaWhen Ezralow discusses dance, he creates the perception that dance exists for a purpose. Regardless of the purpose behind the dance, it is the dancing itself which is important. When asked for an explanation, he clarifies, “What is dance? Dance is life. Dance is in everything. When you pick up your coffee in the morning, wash your hair, etc., it is dance. We have rarified dance. We took moves and made them into something. Now ballet, modern, tap, and hip-hop are all different languages. Essentially what we are trying to do in dance is communicate, so I observe the intention behind the work. People have to understand that medium and intention are two different things. As artists we have to be tolerant, disciplined, and responsible. We have to fulfill our intention.”

Ezralow Dance_3-Angelo RedaeliSaturday’s program will begin with the “Awakening,” a piece about the Ford’s historic outdoor 1200-seat intimate amphitheater, which is set against a backdrop of cypresses and chaparral in the Hollywood Hills. Ezralow reveals that it was not until recently that he became acquainted with the Ford, despite being a native Angelino. “Do you know about its history?” he asks excitedly. “I found out there was a woman named Christine Stevenson who bought the all of the property on the hills of Cahuenga. She later gave the Hollywood Bowl to the music society but she kept the Ford because she wanted to create a play about the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Notable actors performed the Pilgrimage Play for eight weeks in the summer for forty years until 1964 when it was closed down because of its religious nature. That doesn’t happen nowadays. People don’t spend millions to build a theater for a play. That to me is a dream!”

Ezralow Dance photo by Paolo LaudicinaEzralow previously said that the choreography for Ezralow Dance will be intimately linked to the music, which will be led by collaborator Christopher Rountree, wild Up’s artistic director. There will be a new Bach deconstruction by Chris Kallmeyer, and a performance of Brandenburg Concerto #3 played by a completely different set of instruments than those Bach would have used, taking old world music and adapting it to become something wildly different and completely new. Also on the program will be dances choreographed to various 19th-century composers as well as to the music of contemporary composer David Lang.

Ezralow Dance_2 Angelo RedaeliEzralow is concentrating on a different instrument: “As a creator I want to express my creativity by working on instruments which just happen to be human bodies. My ideas come to life when I work out these ideas with the dancers. I have had experiences where the dancers get upset at me because I will not have them jump if I don’t understand why they should jump. I have to understand why I do something. For instance, you jump because you are happy, you are lifting yourself from the ground because of that happiness.”

Based on Ezralow’s oeuvre, audience members can expect to be jumping with happiness after Saturday’s performance.

photos by Paolo Laudicina and Angelo Redaeli

Ezralow Dance
Ford Amphitheater
2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East in Hollywood
Saturday, September 13, 2014 at 8:00
for tickets, call ­323.461.3673 or visit www.FordTheatres.org
on site stacked parking: $5 per vehicle
FREE satellite parking and FREE shuttle to the Ford
available at Universal City/Studio City Metro Station

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