Aspen Santa Fe Ballet has been splitting its home base between Colorado and New Mexico, but over the weekend the dance company took its first leap toward calling Los Angeles home too.
With a fittingly cinematic program Saturday at Valley Performing Arts Center, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet launched a three-year residency at the Northridge theater. The company will revisit VPAC over the next two years and commission new works by Los Angeles choreographers.
On Saturday, Brazilian choreographer Fernando Melo’s “Re:Play” was the blockbuster of the night, capturing snapshots of movement in fragmentary flashes of light, like the frames of a film. The expertly cut lighting design by Seah Johnson catches a man in midstep, a woman in freefall and two men paused before a punch as waving light beams fade to black. A jaw-dropping pulsing light ring overhead adds even more drama to the darting action below.
The mysterious fall of woman in white (Emily Proctor) unravels a marvelous whirlwind of inexplicable encounters that viewers are invited to untangle, just like the twisty end of a Hitchcock film.
Spanish-born choreographer Cayetano Soto’s “Huma Rojo,” a cheeky number grooving to Latin mambo music, provides the comic relief. Dressed in red from head to toe, dancers strut their stuff -- ruffling their hands like peacock feathers, fanning themselves down with flapping wrists. The whole dance is rather fidgety, but these are entertainers who don’t care how silly they look.
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is ready for its Hollywood closeup.
Follow The Times’ arts team @culturemonster.