Thursday, January 19, 2012

Genevieve Carson: Is she a unicorn, a rising star, or just my obsession?

Well, to tell the truth folks I think she’s all three!

The proof that Gen is indeed a unicorn lies in the photo above. I don’t think we need to investigate this any further.

A RISING Star. Yes.

Exhibit A. Her dance reel. It’s amazing. I watch it at least once a week. Now. Before it was like twice a day. We will touch on this later when we are discussing my “healthy” obsession. Gen is a fantastic dancer and has been sharing her talents and brute strength with LA Contemporary Dance Company since 2009. If you have not seen Miss Carson dance I suggest you watch her reel as well as come and see her dance live with LACDC at our free show at USC February 3rd. She’s one to see!

Check this OUT!


Exhibit B. ZINGDEED! A new short dance film created by The Pin-Down Girls artistic director Devin Fulton Gomez and Jamila Glass (both members of LACDC). Genevieve stars in this film as a kick butt ringleader of Palashakopians . The Synopsis: The Palashakopians are the native, estrogen-powered people of ZINGDEED, a mystical land of otherworldly deer-like super beings. Their world is dramatically altered when their leader sends the pack to a planet called Earth to rescue a lost soul. She is fierce, sexy, and a force to be reckoned with. She tears up the screen in antlers and combat boots. It’s Killer! Watch it!


Exhibit C. Her choreography. Not only can this perfect snow angel dance….OH no…she can choreograph too. She’s the full package folks! Her recent work “Nana” (danced by LACDC company members) was chosen to be performed at the Celebrate Dance concert this coming March. She has set work on LACDC before. It was not only performed at one of our fall concerts, but also on the rooftop of the Standard Hotel in downtown LA. Her latest choreographic adventure is taking her back to her hometown, Juno, Alaska. She is setting a drill team number on Thunder Mountain High School. Go GEN! Go Thunder Mountain!

Exhibit D. Poster Child. Oh I forgot to tell you…The show Celebrate Dance, that Genevieve’s piece “Nana” was selected for….yea… The poster for the whole show is a photo of LACDC’s dancer performing her piece. Gen is always the poster child. Here are some of her best.

“She’s got the look” –Prince

Genevieve is a true talent, a great story teller, and this lady is making film producers drop their pants all over town…Just ask boyfriend and producer Clark Baker. Any who, HOW COULD ONE NOT be obsessed with this gal? She gives you every reason to be obsessed with her and so have I. So…Check her out! Genevieve Carson everybody.

Look at this Girl next door.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I’m a southern girl, a preacher’s daughter to be exact. I share this title with a few other LACDC’ers—Tiff, Jam, Marisa, and I count Michael too because he wishes he was southern. I was raised to believe that you get all of your important nutrition from fried fish caught and cleaned by daddy, shoes aren’t necessary if you’re not going far, it’s disrespectful to not say sir, ma’am, Ms., or Mr., Sunday is reserved for church, KFC, and fishin’ (fishing soothes the soul), budlight is the best there is, and Mississippi is pronounced “Miz-sippi”. That’s right, I’m from a small town in Mississippi where there is an abundant amount of parking and it’s always free. Who would’ve thought?

My mother owns a dance studio. Dance is all I have ever known, except when I was in high school I sold tires. Seriously, I did. Growing up in a dance studio was interesting. Everyone knew everything that I did, which was awesome as a teenager. My mom never wanted me to teach. One year the teacher left and took all of the older students. They owed a good amount of money, and financially, there was not a way to hire a new teacher for the younger students. That’s when I began teaching. There was a small competition group of about six girls. We worked hard everyday starting from scratch. They were the most determined girls I have ever met. I fell in love with teaching. I fell in love with them. They loved me too, I suppose. I gave them a million push-ups a day, so I am not sure why.

A job is not a job when you love doing it. I wish for everyone to find the thing they love most, and find a way to make it their career. We won a lot of “double platinums” and did a lot of “over-living”, you could say. To move on with the point of my story, I will finish it off with “you can teach forever, but you can’t dance forever”. I mean I’m sure you can, but I can barely walk now. However, I am almost 25, so I guess that is to be expected. Just kidding, I’m only 22. And no, I am not the youngest in the company. And no, I am no longer bitter about it. Experience comes with age is my new take on it. (Jam, that sentence was for you and you too Hutter.)

Now back to my story. I decided to move to LA, the city where dreams come true, and hey, I am dreamer after all. I flew in earlier then planned so I could attend the LACDC audition. I about peed my pants when Kate called and told me I got the job. It was the best phone call ever and my first professional dance job. Moving over a thousand miles away from your family is definitely one of the craziest ideas I’ve had. There were days filled with tears. There were days I didn’t even have a dollar to eat. There were nights I survived on Nyquil because I am the biggest scaredy cat ever. Yes, I am afraid of the dark. I remember flying home for Christmas last year and having a hard time saying bye to my dad. He told me I didn’t have to do this anymore and that I could come home anytime I wanted. I will be the first to tell you that you have to fight for what you want. The harder the struggle the more it will be worth in the end.

One year and 5 months later, my brothers still end every conversation with “Angel, be careful”, even my little brother. We all have the mentality that if you survived Katrina, you can survive anything. I can tell you exactly what to do in a hurricane, a tornado, or even a flood, but honestly, the only advice I’ve received about an earthquake is to run outside. I hope that’s right.

LACDC is my family. They are all my best friends. Kate Hutter is the most amazing boss anyone could ever dream of having. I’ve never been around such a positive and supportive environment. We all respect each other. We all give words of encouragement. We all get “credit-carded” by Tiffany. We all cheer, high-five, and applaud when it is earned. They are all just a cool bunch of people. I can’t even explain how grateful and blessed I am to be apart of this phenomenal company. The talent pours out of their ears. It’s rare to find such a great group of people, and they are all very good looking too, which helps when you’re in 4 hour rehearsals with them. I “fit in” here. I feel welcomed. I love living in the city of angels. And, no, it’s not just because it has my name in it. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. LA would suck without LACDC. I’ve never had this many friends before. That, of course, is a great feeling. I’m one lucky son of a gun. Do you say that here?

My name is Angel Tyson. I am a member of the Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company, and I enjoy every minute of it. We are dreamers, we are LIVE-ers, and we are movers.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Every year I host a holiday party where I set out a table with pipe cleaners, puff paint, googly eyes, feathers, pom poms, styrofoam, sticks, glitter, sequins, glue, etc...and hope by the end of the party my tree will be decorated with ornaments. To say the least, I am NEVER disappointed. As hoped, this joyous occasion brought out the 4th grader in us all and we made some amazing ornaments. The pictures tell the rest of the story...

Beaker ornament took the prize for the evening.

Videographer Pete with Tiffany and Kevin...looking like they are up to no good.

Board Member Marlo Kinsey and her husband Matt showing off their awesome word art!

Gakenia, Andrew and Marisa looking sassy in their holiday getup.

Ben & Paul of SONOS / Dakaboom crafting with Donna.

Melissa, Me, Pete and Tiffany at the night's end looking mysterious, elated, focused and well...not sure what Tiffany's face is doing :)

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dancing outside of dancing

Although I think we can all agree that all the company members at LACDC love dance, but how we came to love it is probably very different. My experience is that most people learned to dance in the studio or in some kind of classes, especially when it comes to ballet. You never hear friends getting together to do some ballet for fun. I guess it’s because ballet is one of those dances you do on stage or class. Now it might sound like I am bashing on ballet, but I am not. What I am trying to point out is you can’t get together with a group of friends go out at night and meet people doing ballet. So What do I do to get my dance and social cravings at the same time? I go to Lindy Groove, it’s a swing dance venue, that does primarily Lindy Hop style of swing, in Pasadena and it happens every Thursday night. What I love about Lindy Hop is that it is a dance form that is difficult enough that I won’t be bored out of mind, but also attracts enough of a crowd to meet really interesting people that love to dance. The atmosphere is really chill and you don’t feel like people are out to judge your dance ability all the time. So if you are feeling anything like the way I do and want to get away from the class atmosphere maybe Lindy Groove might be for you. :)

- Justin Liu

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gobble Gobble ya’ll!

I love Thanksgiving.

This Turkey Day, one of the
things I am most grateful for is my LACDC family. L.A. Contemporary Dance Co. makes me want to paint things. The following is inspired by Kate Hutter and the Pilgrims. (Potential band name?)

Photos by Eric Mason
Artwork and post by Drea Sobk

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Last night I had the opportunity to see an advanced screening of the movie Pina, a part documentary, part dance for the camera film on the work of German dance-theater choreographer Pina Bausch. LACDC members and affiliates were graciously invited to be a part of this experience and, as I've been waiting for the US premier for over a year, I could not pass up this opportunity. It was well worth the wait. The evening began with a sentimental, long-winded, introduction by the film's soft spoken director Wim Wenders. He recounted to the audience how he and Pina had first met back in the 80's, and came up with the idea to create a film together. She wanted to successfully and accurately document her stage work, while he wanted to create a film about Pina's eyes and the way she views the world. The film remained as only a concept for many, many years as Wenders confessed to us that he had no idea how to go about this task. It wasn't until he saw the newest advancements in 3D technology (before Avatar was even being advertised), that he felt confident moving forward. He felt this technology would allow movie audiences a more real-life experience to see Pina's work, providing us the capability to interpret and recognize depth and layering in her compositions. They began pre-production for the project in spring of 2009. Tragically, and unexpectedly, Pina died in June of 2009 of cancer she had just five days earlier been diagnosed with. Wenders immediately pulled the plug on the entire project.

Pina's company of dancers however, pressed forward. They performed their schedule concert the night after her death, and continued with their scheduled tours through the rest of the year. They chose an artistic director from among them and pressed forward. They came to Wenders and informed him that they have been rehearsing the works that Pina had selected to be in the film, and they were ready to create it. Wenders realized this film was now much more than about Pina, it was for Pina, and it had to be made.

Beyond just capturing Pina's work, this film is cut and interjected with thoughts and memories from the dancers. The dancers in the company range in ages from early twenties to sixties, but among them all the love, admiration, and respect they have for Pina shines through. They paint her to be the most loving, hard working, understanding, encouraging, and inspiring person and director. Hearing these accounts were a nice reminder that talent and success do not need to be paired with harshness or cruelty. I think far too often dancers allow choreographers to get away with behavior unfair and unwarranted. This is one of the biggest things I have enjoyed about becoming a part of LACDC. Like Pina, the choreographers we work with push us and challenge us, but never forget to treat us with respect and courtesy. Because after all, we are people first, dancers second.

Beyond anything, the film Pina depicts what a truly special and remarkable entity Pina Bausch was, and still is. And I think LACDC is pretty special too :-)

- Andrew Pearson

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Dancer’s Introductory Ramblings

From Hyosun Choi -

I love eating cake with my fingers; dessert tastes so much better. I love plushies; my recent addition is mischievous Pascal from Disney’s “Tangled.” I love the Fx application; the pictures say enough. And I love to dance; in a world where the most overused muscle is the jaw, it’s a gift to express with my body instead of words.

I believe dance is the sadly underappreciated. Musicians are left with an mp3 recording after singing. Directors, screenwriters, and actors can watch the DVD after filming. Painters solidify their art onto a canvas after painting. Sculptors create a 3D figure after sculpting. Writers publish books after writing. Yet after dancing, we are left only with an experience because dance is a live performance that can’t be captured into any material form. Although video recording is an option, the experience of watching live versus after-the-fact is beyond comparison.

Dance taught me about having patience in the process. As Ralph Waldo Emerson articulated, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Before I began to dance, one of my innate personality flaws was in wanting immediate results. But the greatest sense of satisfaction and appreciation develops after surmounting tremendous difficulties. There shall never be an ending point to dance; the beauty is the infinite amount to learn, to discover, to be inspired. Below are videos I took during rehearsal that show the process in creating and in grasping new work:

In addition, dance taught me the importance of foundation. A dancer’s tool is his/her body. The foundation of technique, a strong core, and confidence is a necessity. With a sturdy foundation, I began to concentrate on personal expression and inner reflection. A great performer makes the action look effortless, thereby putting the audience at ease to disappear into the experience.

Furthermore, dance taught me about teamwork. In a world consumed by self-absorption and individuality, dance reminds me of collaboration, humility, and respect for others. Unless it is a solo, a dance piece with others is not about standing out as a sharp contrast within the whole picture. I feel lucky to be a part of a dance company that promotes cooperation, trust, and support during rehearsals.

I hope that someday a Dancers’ Guild will be created to protect dancers’ hourly wages, health benefits, and copyrights. I wish dance would have a bigger role in the elementary education system. I dream that a greater appreciation for contemporary dance develops with a strongercommunity support. Optimistically, in the future, a larger population of dancers shall be able to financially support themselves only through dance without taking on a second job. And may there one day be a way to preserve choreography in a form that captures its initial essence.

With the reminder never to take my health for granted, I offer a prayer of gratitude for every day I can dance. My goal: to make you itch to dance when you watch LACDC dance.