BODYTRAFFIC, the Los Angeles-based innovative contemporary dance company is bringing three of its latest pieces to the Broad Stage in Santa Monica this Friday and Saturday night.
Among the offerings is the world premiere of “Kollide” by Kyle Abraham, who was recently named a MacArthur Fellow.
The other two pieces are “And at Midnight the Green Bridge Floated Through the Village Square” by Israeli choreographer Barak Marshall and Richard Siegal’s “o2Joy.”
Founded in 2007 by Lillian Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett, BODYTRAFFIC was named as one of Dance Magazine's 25 to Watch in 2013 and has been racking up accolades around the country and the world.
Dale Franzen, director of The Broad Stage, said of bringing BODYTRAFFIC to Santa Monica, “[it] is one of the most talked about companies in dance today... Their performances are always amazing in collaboration, style and message.”
Patch spoke with co-founder Lillian Barbeito this week about the company’s roots, ethos and what audiences can expect from their performances.
The shows at the Broad will be Barbeito’s last performances as a dancer. As a teacher at Loyola Marymount University and running BODYTRAFFIC, Barbeito says she doesn’t have time to perform as well, stating it’s time for her to pass the mantle to younger dancers.
Santa Monica Patch: What was the impetus to you’re your company?
Lillian Barbeito: [Tina Finkelman Berkett and I] were both from New York and accustomed to a certain caliber/style of dance that we didn't really find in Los Angeles. [The company] was selfishly a platform for us to continue our careers as performers. We were looking to create things that were based a little more in tradition, more in classic modern dance, that were also commercial and jazzy. We really wanted [the company] to reflect the contemporary dance of today.
Patch: How did you come up with the name BODYTRAFFIC?
wanted it to reflect Los Angeles. We didn’t want it to be something bland like “LA
Dance Theatre” or "LA Contemporary Dance Company.” We wanted something that
would have a strong impact and be memorable. BODYTRAFFIC was very edgy and
people’s reactions were either “That’s the best thing ever” or “Eew, it makes
us think of human trafficking.” But it was loud and we didn’t want to be
vanilla. We wanted spice.
And if you live in L.A. then if you’re stuck on the 405 or anywhere in traffic – especially if you’re on your way to see us then hopefully you’re going to be thinking about us.
Patch: How do you choose your pieces, choreographers and dancers?
Barbeito: Tina and I are both mothers. We have a bigger picture of the world. At the end of the day we just wanted dancing to inspire people and make the world a better place through dancing. We try not to take ourselves too seriously and we create a program where there’s something for everyone, which is why we have a mixed bill with our choreographers: something theatrical, then something balletic and then something jazzy and entertaining. We just try to pack all aspects of humanity into our work. With our dancers, it’s important they are living balanced lives. We care about the complete artist, not just their technique.
Patch: What do you hope audiences will come away with after seeing the shows at the Broad?
Barbeito: That they live their lives to their fullest potential; that they are present and awakened and that they want to go out into the world being more reflective, emotional and having a heightened sense of who they are and what they’re bringing to the world.
Patch: Any final words?
Barbeito: Dance heals and revives and people should come see us dance and come dance with us.
BODYTRAFFIC will perform at The Eli & Edythe Broad Stage, 1310 11th St. Santa Monica CA 90401 on Friday Oct. 11 and Sat. Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $32-$55 and can be purchased at www.thebroadstage.com or by calling the box office at 310-434-3200.