Odyssey Theater opens its doors to dance

Dancers Ioannis Mandafounis and Fabrice Mazliah kick off a three-weekend festival of dance at the Odyssey
Photo by Domink Mentzos

The Odyssey Theater is known throughout the Westside for staging classic and contemporary plays, but starting this weekend the venue will take its first steps into the world of dance — inviting troupes from around Los Angeles and the world to perform on its stages for an inaugural dance festival

Dancers Ioannis Mandafounis and Fabrice Mazliah, founders of the German dance collective MAMAZA and alumni of the cutting-edge Forsythe Company, kick off the festival on Saturday and Sunday (Jan. 14 and 15) with their duet “Eifo Efi,” sponsored by the Goethe Institut Los Angeles

Based on their 30-year friendship and partnership as creative collaborators, the piece explores the world of doubles and doubling through reflections and the pair’s nonstop verbal and physical interactions.

“We wanted to find a way to enlarge our presence on stage, multiply it, give an impression that there more people than the two of us in that space,” writes Mazliah in an email.

Galiana & Nikolchev’s Useless Room’s “The Last One” follows “Eifo Efi” on Jan. 20. The physical theater performance investigates the battle between preservation and destruction with a lot of dirt and rocks, (yes there will be dirt and rocks on stage). And if you can’t catch it at the Odyssey, the group will be doing an encore in Venice with The Electric Lodge’s Lightning Series at 8 p.m. on Jan. 21.

Flamenco troupe Herencia Flamenca spices things up with “Olé Flamenco,” featuring guitar virtuoso Paco Arroyo, on Jan. 22.  Then L.A. Contemporary Dance Company concludes the festival with works by four choreographers in “Force Majeur” on Jan. 27 and 28.

Associate Artistic Director Beth Hogan hopes that hosting dance at the Odyssey will introduce new audiences to the theater, excite current theatergoers about dance and “open up people’s minds that a theater isn’t just about doing plays. … It’s also an open space.”

— Christina Campodonico


“Dance at the Odyssey” runs Jan. 14, 15, 20, 22, 27 and 28 at the Odyssey Theater, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. $15 to $25.Call (310) 477-2055 or visit odysseytheatre.com for performance times.