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France's Lyon Opera Kicks Off UCLA Live Season

October 01, 2004

The Lyon Opera Ballet, one of France's national treasures, returns to UCLA Live in a program featuring works by four modern dance masters: William Forsythe, Russell Maliphant, Nacho Duato and Jirí Kylián. These two evenings of dance take place at 8 p.m. Oct. 1 and 2 at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus.

Under the guidance of artistic director Yorgos Loukos, France's Lyon Opera Ballet is widely regarded as one of the world's preeminent dance companies. Commissioning numerous works by today's most important new and esteemed modern choreographers, the company serves as a virtual showcase for the most current, brilliant and innovative dance.

The evening's program features "Second Detail" by American-born Ballett Frankfurt choreographer William Forsythe; the Los Angeles premiere of "Twelvetwentyone" by Britain's Russell Maliphant; the Los Angeles premiere of "Un Ballo" by Nederlands Dans Theater choreographer Kylián; and "Jardi Tancat" by Duato.

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Created in Toronto by the National Ballet of Canada in 1991, "Second Detail" was integrated into the "Loss of Small Detail," choreographed by Forsythe for Ballett Frankfurt in the same year. A pure dance work performed on pointe with a classical line reminiscent of Balanchine, the piece evokes a sense of stripping down to the basics, as if minutely examining the heart of a machine, wheel by wheel. Created by Thom Willems, the gritty, electronic score sounds as if it was produced by a hurdy-gurdy, and humorously recreates a mechanical momentum.

Receiving its world premiere by the Lyon Opera Ballet on Sept. 12, "Twelvetwentyone" reflects Maliphant's status as both a dancer and a performer. The concept of a performer involves the meeting and merging of the gestures of one with the body of the other. Classical dance approached this by making the choreographer subordinate to the dancer, but contemporary dance views it as an exchange between author and performer. Maliphant's dance is therefore an author-performer's dance, and consequently a dance of intimacy, feeling and listening.

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