At the Westobou Festival, the highlight of the celebration’s focus on dance will be a whirlwind of difficult, exquisite movement from a company fresh off its debut in the world’s capital for entertainment.
The L.A. Dance Project will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Imperial Theatre, 749 Broad St., performing three pieces of engaging art. Tickets are $75 in advance at (706) 755-2878 or westoboufestival.com.
“I wanted to build something in my new home,” said Benjamin Millepied, the founder of the dance project, who retired from a 15-year career with the New York City Ballet. “I wanted to build something that followed my own vision for the potential that a contemporary company can have if it opens its doors to other artists and artistic disciplines.
“Also, I have been choreographing for many years but I wanted to have the opportunity to evolve with a company that I could have substantial time with and whom I could get to know,” he continued. “It is amazing to get to know these dancers and use their strengths and interests to create the work.”
The performance starts with Merce Cunningham’s dark, difficult Winterbranch, with extremely slow and controlled movement. Millepied’s own duet Closer is described as deeply intimate and revealing, and a “marathon for the two performers.”
Millepied will unveil a new work, Moving Parts, set to a score by Nico Muhly with sets designed by painter Christopher Wool.
“Moving Parts is a fast-moving piece with large high-speed scenic elements, and the coordination required amongst the dancers is so essential,” he said.
The project brings different artistic fields together in a city not known for dance, Millepied said.
“Producing in L.A. is in itself an exciting venture. This city is so vibrant and dynamic,” he said. “Jumping into that scene, partnering with artists here, building something that doesn’t exist yet in dance in this city, it is all thrilling.
“People say that L.A. is not a dance town, but here we are, and the resonance and response to L.A. Dance Project shows that L.A. is, in fact, a dance town,” he said.
Augusta might not be a big, sprawling metropolis, but art knows no boundaries, Millepied said.
“I think that there is a great tradition of the traveling artist and that has always existed because of the simple truth that every community benefits from the experience that art can bring,” he said. “Dance has the unique benefit of not being limited by language and therefore it is truly without borders.”