Dance Recommendation: INFERNO & BURLESQUE (ACB)

Post image for Dance Recommendation: INFERNO & BURLESQUE (ACB)

by Tony Frankel on October 5, 2022

in Dance,Theater-Los Angeles

If you’re brave, get front-row seats.
Eight Performances Only!

Did Hell Ever Look This Good? Photo by Victor Demarchelier.

American Contemporary Ballet, L.A.’s most daring and satisfying dance company, opens its 11th season on October 7, 2022, with Inferno & Burlesque, a double dose of gothic horror and likely the strangest Halloween experience available in Los Angeles. This year, it adds a third –and equally eerie — performance to the program, so uncanny that it doesn’t even have a name. For those who don’t know, this is the most intimate professional company in Hell or anywhere else: patrons are seated in three rows on three sides just feet from the dancers, while live chamber music swirls around you. The musicians this year are Brendan White, Daniel Gledhill, Brandon Zhou, and Daniel Gledhill. Plus, performances are followed by an artist reception with live music.

Inferno. Photo by Jared Zagha.

The evening features immersive performances that wiggle their way into that part of the subconscious that we don’t quite understand — and then refuse to leave. It starts with Inferno, a trip through Dante’s Hell, complete with appearances by doomed lovers, monsters, and Satan himself (and that’s the easy stuff). Based on Alighieri’s version of Hell from his epic poem Divine Comedy, the show’s atmosphere is creepy and ominous in a way that comes together well thanks to creative combinations of choreography and technical elements. Each brief section of the ballet has the work jumping from persecution, limbo and the first sinners’ circle almost directly to the ninth. You will be wowed by what has become ACB’s favorite and perhaps best form of storytelling: expressive hand and arm gestures, which rotate in circles to create familiar patterns. The ballet is an eerie delight, as is watching the devil open and close it’s long, razor-like fingers.

Inferno. Photo by Jared Zagha.

So, it begins in Hell, and then it gets weird. Next is Burlesque, where the revelations are … unexpected. ACB female soloists are featured in six scenes of escalating strangeness; what’s left to the imagination is what each viewer will be contemplating long after the show.

Burlesque. Photo by Caleb Thal.

The third number is one Jones created for a one-night-only performance in 2019 featuring guest performer Dita Von Teese. ACB Director Lincoln Jones is typically tight with details about new works, but promises ballet audiences have never seen anything quite like it — and definitely not from the 28th floor of a skyscraper, just 28 flights and a few feet from Hell. Jones said, “I love Halloween and every year, I find myself looking for something strange, gothic, and mysterious to experience, but most of what’s offered is deranged clowns jumping out of closets. I made Inferno & Burlesque to fill that gap … maybe it’s Halloween for David Lynch fans.” See you in Hell!

Burlesque. Photo by Caleb Thal.

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Inferno & Burlesque
American Contemporary Ballet
Two California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Avenue, 28th Floor, in DTLA
Friday, October 7
Saturday, October 8

Friday, October 14
Saturday, October 15
Friday, October 21
Saturday, October 22
Friday, October 28
Saturday, October 29
all performances at 8pm; for tickets ($60 – $1400), visit ACB

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