Every human being has a moment in her life where she stops doing something she has long done just because that's the way it has always been done and thought "why am I doing this thing in this particular way again? Who ordained this?"
The same can be said for enjoying performances in a setting where there is a stage and rows of seats facing the stage. Certainly the open-air amphitheaters of ancient times set the precedent here, but there's no rule that, say, a dance show can't be watched in any venue, or non-venue, under a host of offbeat and thought-provoking circumstances.
The Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre epitomizes this beyond-the-stage philosophy. The innovative troupe is taking its site-specific movement and idea-sharing to Chinatown on Friday, May 29 and Saturday, May 30 for "Chinatown Blues," an inquiry into "what the intertwining of cultures means for a place."
It's a big question to ask of many areas of forever-changing Southern California, but definitely timely for this historic neighborhood, which has seen speedy growth and numerous fresh businesses over the last decade.
And the "stage" in this instance? It's an "under construction building" in Chinatown. The dancers will travel between places during the performance, fluidly moving from the outside to "the shady and cavernous" space.
"Chinatown Blues," the troupe notes, is also a celebration of "Duckler's decades-long commitment to cultural exchange and bringing international artists to Los Angeles."
As for other surprising, non-stage-y spots where the Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre has performed in the past? Artists danced up the side of the Emser Tile Building in West Hollywood, a shuttered hospital, and in a laundromat.