Beach Dances brings a week of cutting-edge performances to Santa Monica

By Christina Campodonico

Transformative choreographer Jay Carlon closes out the festival

Dance enthusiasts are in for a treat at the Annenberg Community Beach House starting this Monday.

As part of Beach Dances, some of L.A.’s most exciting dancers and choreographers will be rehearsing and performing on a sand-level platform at the beach house — creating “an open studio,” where anyone can observe and see the creative process unfold upon Santa Monica’s sandy shores.

No)one Art House — one of a few completely black-run contemporary dance companies in the country — kicks off the performance half of the series on June 4 with choreographer Chris Emile’s “Right & L3FT” at 4:30 p.m. The group has received the seal of approval from Solange Knowles (Beyoncé’s sis) and is emerging as a barrier-breaking force for contemporary dance out of the West Adams district.

Choreographer Rebecca Bruno, the founder of homeLA (a collective of artists that performs in private spaces throughout Los Angeles) and a prior Annenberg Beach House choreographer-in-residence, follows that up with a gently guided “Movement and Awareness” workshop from 6 to 7 p.m.

The remainder of the week features visits from the likes of virtuosic mover Mecca Vazie Andrews, artistic director of The MOVEMENT movement and vocalist with the Alison Wolfe-fronted punk band the Sex Stains; Scripps College dance professor Suchi Branfman, who has brought the power of dance to incarcerated men in the California state prison system; and Arrogant Elbow’s Sarah Elgart, who takes a cinematic approach to her dance works on film and IRL.

Finally, L.A. choreographer and former Annenberg Beach House choreographer-in-residence Jay Carlon — whose visceral work will touch your rawest nerve in the best way possible — caps off the series with presentations of his new work “Four Triangles” at 6:30 p.m. next Friday, Saturday and Sunday (June 8, 9 and 10.)

Last time Carlon took up residence at the beach house, he populated its shores with dancers falling into the cresting waves and walking through the sands in golden emergency blankets — a nod to the Syrian refugee crisis. He also has
the uncanny ability to transform any space he works in, whether it’s the stage of Highways Performance Space or the parking lot of the Electric Lodge, into magical landing pads for dance. Expect the unexpected.

Beach Dances happens at various times from June 4 to June 10 at the Annenberg Community Beach House, 415 Pacific Coast Hwy., Santa Monica. Free, but RSVP. Check for times and updates.