Chad Michael Hall, Artistic Director, Choreographer and founder of Multiplex Dance–a Los Angeles-based meta-modern dance company, sits with WEHO TIMES contributor Mike Pingle to discuss the West Hollywood Dance Festival coming to WeHo this weekend.
According to Hall, “you don’t have to be a dance aficionado to enjoy the show. I have curated the show to be accessible to a wider audience. It is family-friendly and kid-friendly.”
What is your dance background?
I’ve been dancing for twenty years, before dancing I was a singer a whole other chapter in life. As a tenor, I use to sing with a chamber singing ensemble and toured around the world. I always loved music I always knew I wanted to do something with artistic expression and then I found dance at 21. It completely changed my entire life, from that day on I watched my first dance class I was absolutely hooked and I wanted to do nothing else with my life. I started relentlessly pursuing this as a career.
What is happening this week during the West Hollywood Dance Festival?
An eight day festival with three components, a dance intensive which geared toward pre-professional dancers and professional dancers. Dancers who want to come in and train. Intensive happens in the mornings. In the afternoon from 4-5pm, we have a few community workshop series which is lead by each of the guest companies that we have invited for the show. In the third component, we have public shows Friday, Aug 25 at 7:30 and Saturday, Aug 26 at 2pm & 7:30pm.
Who will be performing at the shows?
There are five companies performing together plus additional two choreographer and a couple guest artist. Which is really cool for me because last year was our inaugural year. West Hollywood is called the creative city, but it has struggled to keep a constant dance presence here. I love making alternative dance spaces. I really enjoy creating something, a pioneer experience. It’s great to bring concert dance to the residents in a variety of ways.
What will the troops be performing?
Hexagon Dance Collective, a brand-new company. The Ballet D’Hommes, which is French for ballet of men; they are three men that dance as ballerinas at one point and point shoes. It’s awesome. These are debut shows for them. They are brand new companies. Everyone should see them.
What is your piece about?
I’m really excited about this premier, it’s called “Dangerous Moves” the premise of the piece basically me looking at these hot, built men doing like ballerina Port de bras and dancing in point shoes and androgyny, just the simple expression of living so far out of the binary gender roles traditional in ballet. It’s was super intriguing to me off the bat, so I just build from there. So, let me get to know you as a person, all sides of you, so it’s a very gender fluid expression in the piece and they use their point shoes like daggers. So, it’s fierce!
Who else will be preforming?
Hexagon Dance Collective are performing two really great postmodern inspired works. They are beautiful dancers, six ladies from Loyola Marymount University got together their senior year and created a non-profit dance company.
We have Antics Performance which is a hip-hop dance theater company, they have been around for a long time in Los Angeles. Amy “Catfox” Campion is their director, I have worked her and her company a few years back, they are just delightful human beings, so much fun.
Taiko Center of Los Angeles, they are back again this year their director, Willie Wu and my rehearsal director from Multiplex have come together and they are premiering a work with live Taiko Drumming performing on stage while all the dance is happening. It’s called “Taiko-Plex” we put the two ventures together – really powerful, really loud, visceral experience for the audience. That is going to be super cool.
My company is performing a piece I staged called “Between Earth and Heaven” an ensemble work and also making a piece with the intensive students in five days. I’m setting up a piece called ‘At the Door.’
Will there be something different performed each showing?
No, it’s the same show all three times, so just come to one of them. The reason we are doing matinee on Saturday is that there are a lot of family’s in West Hollywood. And family with kids you don’t want your kids going to be at 10 at night, so we wanted to make a time where people can bring their kids and again this is kid friendly, family friendly programing.
What is your goal for the festival?
The mission of this festival for me is one of inclusivity. Expression of individuality as you are, who you are and where you are. Accessibility of concert dance the non-dance goer. You don’t have to be a dance aficionado to enjoy the show. I have curated the show to be accessible to a wider audience. It is family friendly and kid friendly. There is no profanity, no nudity. There is nothing wrong with those things, I just choose to not have them here.
West Hollywood Dance Festival Performance Series will feature ten innovated, accessible dances across multiple dance genres will be held at the West Hollywood Park Auditorium located at 647 N. San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069. The show runs Friday, August 25 at 7:30pm and Saturday, August 26th at 2pm & 7:30pm. Ticket range from $25-30. Check online for discounts for students, seniors and West Hollywood residents. For all the info & tickets surf over to www.multiplexdance.org/whdf
During this week of dance in WEHO includes a free community workshop. These workshops will be held from 4-5pm and are instructed by the heads of the guest companies participating in the festival. Each day there is a different type of dance/music. To join in the dance fun register at: multiplexdance.org/whdf-community-workshops
There is also a weeklong of Intensive Dance classes for performers who want to dance professionally, yet anyone may attend these classes regardless of your dance ability, but note these classes will be contain a professionally pace and rigor and will includes all types of dance: Modern, Contemporary, Ballet, Hip – Hop, Improvisation and Somatic Practice. These classed will showcase top instructors from the the Los Angeles area. Daily classes run from 9:30am-7:30pm and be signed up online at: multiplexdance.org/whdf-intensive