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Lucinda Childs among choreographers for OCPAC-Bolshoi partnership

January 8, 2011 |  6:30 am

Olga Malinovskaya Lucinda Childs wants less from her dancers. Commissioned to create a 10-minute solo to composer John Adams’ “Book of Harmony” for “Reflections,” opening Jan. 20 at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, the choreographer is working with top-caliber ballet technicians Anastasia Stashkevich of the Bolshoi Ballet and Olga Malinovskaya of the Estonian National Ballet.

She’s been teaching the gloriously hyper-trained Russian ballerinas to walk, skip, run and luxuriate in time and space, American-style.

That’s the point of impresario Sergei Danilian’s new co-production with OCPAC and the Bolshoi Theater of Russia, a gender-swapped version of his prior “Kings of the Dance.” “Reflections” introduces seven prima ballerinas, all hothouse products of Russian training, and matches them with eight top, hip Western choreographers -- plus Balanchine.

Childs’ bare-boned repetitive steps, accruing power en route, riveted the gang of Russians, including the ballerinas and four men, rehearsing in Costa Mesa last August. Scattered around the dance studio warming up with torturous stretches, they practically gawked, seemingly fascinated that this simple patterned stuff could be performance material. 

Anastasia Stashkevich Childs, steely, remained unfazed: “They [her two dancers] were so open and adapted so quickly. I have 10 days, and I have a very ambitious project set to Adams, which is complicated music.”

Neither dancer speaks English: “The communication was the actual physical working together. There was not much verbal communication. They were very smart, and the music demands are rather extra.”

The acclaimed post-modernist, 70, who first popped onto the New York scene in 1964 and has since choreographed in Europe for years, brings to “Reflections” her calling card, her many collaborations with Adams.  

Childs returns to California soon with some post-modern golden oldies. Her “DANCE” (1979), music by Philip Glass, film/décor by Sol LeWitt, appears on April 28 at Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco and tours to UC Davis May 3, UCLA Live May 6-7, and UCSB Arts, Santa Barbara, May 10.

Click here to read my article on the international mélange, “Reflections,” in Sunday’s Arts and Books section.

-- Debra Levine

“Reflections,” Orange County Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa, 7:30 p.m. Jan 20–22 and 2 p.m. Jan. 23, $15-$126; (714) 556-2787 or www.OCPAC.org; the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow, 7 p.m. Jan. 27–30; Feb. 20, 22, 23, www.bolshoi.ru.

Photo (top): Olga Malinovskaya in rehearsal at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Credit: Doug Gifford

Photo (bottom): Anastasia Stashkevich rehearses at the center. Credit: Doug Gifford

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