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Celebrate Dance blends local troupes on one stage

Event that typically sells out comes to the Alex Theatre March 3.

February 24, 2012|By Laura Tate
  • Dancer Lydia Zimmer will perform "Memoriae" as part of the show "Celebrate Dance" at the Alex Theatre. (Photo by Jesse Weiner Photography)
Dancer Lydia Zimmer will perform "Memoriae"…

It is pitch black. Slowly a dark reddish glow lights the stage. A slim woman dressed in tight black shorts and a loose tank top walks out and, chest forward, dives to the floor, landing on her hands. She lies on her side, knees bent, and slowly rolls onto her back. She raises an arm, her fist clenched, and curls into a fetal pose on her knees. As she quickly rises, looks up and reaches out … it is as if she were being born. Or perhaps it is the memory of her birth.

That is what dancer Lydia Zimmer says is the basis of “Memoriae,” a structured improvisation that played at Live Arts Los Angeles in November as part of the “Transient Truths, a collaborative dance show” — memory within the human body. “I tap into my personal past … memories to produce feelings on stage and express them through movements,” Zimmer said of how she dances, with each performance producing new movements.

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“Memoriae,” performed to the ambient electronic musical work “Während,” by German composer Marsen Jules, is mesmerizing and may evoke ethereal, personal memories for those who watch Zimmer dance. The Nova Scotia native will perform the piece at the seventh incarnation of Celebrate Dance, which brings local companies together for one night of eclectic performances that range from modern to classical, at the Alex Theatre in Glendale on March 3.

It was at the Live Arts show that Celebrate Dance founder and producer Jamie Nichols said she first saw Zimmer — a magna cum laude fine arts graduate of the Boston Conservatory Dance Division — perform.

“I made an on-the-spot decision and added her to the lineup,” Nichols said. “I usually don't do that, [but I was] that compelled by how amazing this young person was.”

Nichols, who produces the entire show — marketing, press, fundraising — on her own, usually scouts a year in advance to add new talent to Celebrate Dance, which has sold out the past four of its six years. Nichols has received the Lester Horton Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement for Production of a Festival three years in a row for his production of the event.

Several companies performing in this year's show have also been recognized, including the Los Angeles-based Hysterica Dance Company, which was Horton-nominated three times for Best Performance by a Dance Company.

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