In the world of Lelavision, dance is musical, music is a concrete visual expression and all three are important aspects of the company's unique performance style.
The Seattle-based group, scheduled to perform at Augusta State University, uses the dance training of Leah Mann and the art of her partner, Ela Lamblin, to produce performance pieces that incorporate improvisational choreography and large-scale musical sculptures.
"When we first started, we did traditional collaborations - Ela played and I danced," Ms. Mann said in a telephone interview. "But we soon discovered that what we were doing was evolving.
"Now each piece begins with us imagining shapes or sounds we would like in a piece, and then Ela begins working from that."
The results are kinetic instruments: a pump organ operated by rocking a boatlike structure, a series of 100 resonating stones hung from string and played with rosined gloves, gigantic metal shells played like drums with rubber mallets on the outside and from within. Ms. Mann said each performance begins with the pair mastering the musical style these uncommon instruments require.
"We just start playing with them," she said. "There are long periods of discovering what each instrument wants to do. It's a case of getting good enough to understand the vocabulary of sound and movement. On average, that takes two years on any one instrument."
Though Lelavision wants its performances to be entertaining, Ms. Mann said the goal of the company is more inspirational.
"We really hope that people become inspired to create," she said. "It's a success for us to have people want to make something in their own. That's particularly true of kids."
The Lelavision approach to performance is as much reaction as action, improvising to the tones and movements supplied by the melodious stage props.
Ms. Mann said the nature of a Lelavision performance usually means personal growth for the performers and the audience.
"We always want to learn something about ourselves," she said.
"We love the big mistake and the surprising outcome. We want things to be different every time."
>Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHEN: 7 p.m. today
WHERE: Grover C. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre, Augusta State University, 2500 Walton Way
COST: $5, free with Augusta State ID; 737-1609
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