In a celebration of collaborative artistry, Lineage Performing Arts Center (LPAC) in Pasadena hosts “Foothills Dancemakers” on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 10 and 11, a joint concert featuring the collective brilliance of Benita Bike’s DanceArt, Pennington Dance Group, Nancy Evans Dance Theatre, and Lineage Dance Company, the heart of LPAC’s live productions.
“Foothills Dancemakers” opens on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., followed by a matinee performance on Sunday at 4 p.m. LPAC said the concert will be a mesmerizing display of movement and artistry, showcasing the unique talents of each participating dance company.
Nancy Evans Doede, Artistic Director of Nancy Evans Dance Theatre, said the idea for “Foothills Dancemakers” began in 2019 out of the need to raise awareness that there is truly excellent professional concert modern dance available right here in the San Gabriel Valley.
“What we do with ‘Foothills’ is that each of the companies is bringing their own work from their own repertory,” she said. “We all have such full schedules with our companies that none of us can make that kind of dedicated time to put a piece together. So we bring our repertory and we sit down and we discuss what works we’d like to bring to the program and how to best put the program together so that everything works as a unit – so that we don’t look like just four separate things.”
It’s actually the third time the group is coming together for a collaborative dance show, Doede said, with the first one before the pandemic.
“Post-pandemic, we did one in 2020 and late 2021, and then we had to postpone until now, because again, everybody’s schedules were absolutely off the charts,” she said. “Normally, we would do it in the fall, but we moved it into February this year.”
Pennington Dance Group will be presenting two new works during the concert: “Tilting Ground” and “Warp and Weft.” John Peddington, Artistic Director, hopes the audience will leave with a broadened perspective on dance after the show.
“The idea was a shared collaborative experience where we could show our work but stay within the concert dance arena,” he said. “While the work is different, what you’ll see in the concert is not hip hop pitted against jazz pitted against folk pitted against modern, so that an audience viewing can somewhat stay in the same concert dance world.”
Peddington said he and the other artistic directors have been doing shows for an average of 20 years, with Benita Bike counting over 40 years in the business.
“What emerges out of that is a sense of the craft that comes only with experience,” Peddington added. “I would say that training and styles have changed, but what hasn’t changed is that the body is still the main focus of our work, the body as a communicative tool, as a tool of expression. And our bodies have changed a bit and training has changed, but the body is still the body. So mining it for ideas and mining it for expressivity, those are what choreographers are after.”
Benita Bike’s DanceArt Company is introducing two new pieces: “What are We Calling Fantasy?” which explores the manipulation of fabric, creating various visual metaphors, and “Aspects of Me,” which delves into different aspects of self and relationships.
“We use a very large and long piece of fabric in this dance, and the fabric is manipulated by the dancers in various ways so that it becomes different things in the dance,” Bike said as she described their first presentation. “Sometimes it’s a river, sometimes it’s something you use to tie someone up with. So the interesting part of it is kind of the melding of the movement of the fabric with the movement of the dancers.”
Bike said the collaboration among the four dance groups has been going on smoothly over the years, showing their common respect and deep connection to the tradition of dance.
“We all respect one another’s work and we all learn without really changing what we do,” she said. “We learn and support the other people in the group and feel that we all support the kind of dance we do. We’re a support system for each other, and they’re all really great people and fine artists.”
On Saturday, in between pieces, company directors will speak briefly about each dance and its origins.
Tickets to “Foothills Dancemakers” are $25 general admission, and $20 for seniors and students.
For tickets and more information, visit https://lineagepac.my.