Saturday, I was up on Mount Washington for HomeLA, a salon featuring 14 dance artists performing inside, and out, of a spectacular contemporary house with impressive hillside and city views. Presenter Rebecca Bruno had developed a similar site-specific series in her own home in San Diego (she studied dance at UCSD), and for this inaugural LA edition, she partnered with the Dance Resource Center and Pieter.
HomeLA “seeks to contribute to a dialogue among independent dance makers, musicians, home owners, and guests on issues relating to performance and domestic space” and the performances, it was hoped, would “activate” the architecture and the “particular ethos” of the home. We were handed an architectural floor plan of the home’s four levels, with the names of the dance groups printed in the room or area where they would be performing. Dance start times were staggered throughout the evening so theoretically you could catch every dance.
It was a very casual evening (in contrast to the pretentiousness of the promotional materials quoted above). Aside from dance, there were weak but tasty drinks, served by two women standing in a whirlpool bath, plus a continuously replenished bowl of popcorn. Even with those amenities, we stayed for only 90 minutes, about half the evening. To me, dancing felt almost like an afterthought; this was more like a party. Rather, it was a party. The very loose and unstructured nature of the event meant that it was up every individual to focus as much or as little as they chose to on the artists.
I believe the artists–some of whom are among the city’s more well-known experimentalists–had invested considerable thought into how to adress dancing in someone’s private space. Melanie Rios Glaser created a “sleeping dance” and she was very comfortably tucked into a bed on the roof of a lower room. She was dreaming, perhaps, of her “knight in shining armor,” according to an explainer text, her inspiration coming from a story by a Guatemalan author. Amanda Furches twirled in a red dress on a hilltop perhaps a quarter mile away, a fanciful and fairy-like figure, whom we could see from the house’s terrace. My favorite performer was Maya Gingery, an elegant and intensely focused woman who strode and even pirouetted on the edge of the empty swimming pool. Her strong carriage and purposefulness appealed to me; how the work related to the “ethos” of the house was, I’m afraid, lost on me.
But HomeLA got me up to Mount Washington for the very first time, and I have to say a hearty “thank you!” for that.