People need people

From the ethereal to the visceral, the showcase Celebrate Dance 2011 promises to reflect the full spectrum of dance in California on Saturday at the Alex Theatre in Glendale.

Executive producer Jamie Nichols has assembled eight contemporary dance companies whose compelling new works will explore how people communicate with each other. Deborah Rosen’s latest work, “The Space Between, Before and After,” is an example of that.

Choreographed to an original score by Tom Moose, the piece is about the cycle of how we all make connections, Rosen said. It opens with the soloist Dana Vultaggio running lightly to each of five dancers who are standing still. As if she were a fairy queen, the soloist moves around and between the dancers, gently awakening them — and the cycle of life begins.

“The soloist is very present and alive, opening doors to the dancers on stage. It’s an ethereal world, where someone unexpectedly hugs, nuzzles and snakes through the space. The interactions become larger — solo, duo, trio — and the communication builds,” Rosen said. “It’s about how important people are in our life.”

The cycle of human connections also is illustrated by the links between three of Rosen’s dancers and Nichols. Two of the dancers — Jacqueline Rumohr and Devonna Reichert — are Glendale residents who used to dance with Nichols’ dance company, Two Fast Feet. Rumohr danced with the company in the 1980s and Reichert danced with Nichols during the company’s final performance in 2003.

Dancer Devin Ziel Shermer is the 19-year-old daughter of Kim Ziel, who also danced with Two Fast Feet. At one point in “The Space Between, Before and After,” Rumohr, who stands 5-foot-9, lifts the petite Shermer in a manner that reminded Nichols of when she first saw Shermer as a baby in her mother’s arms.

Other companies in the Alex performance are BARE Dance Company, Monat Dance, Regina Klenjoski Dance Company, Terri Best Dance, Visions Dance Theatre, Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn and Malashock Dance.

“I like highly trained dancers with an edge,” said Nichols, who has produced the showcase at the Alex Theatre since 2005.

The theater has a special meaning for Nichols, who was born in Glendale and graduated from Glendale High School. Her grandparents attended the opening of the Alex in 1925, and she danced her last performance with her company there in 2003.

The choreographers who have captured her attention include Jamel Gaines, and his company Creative Outlet, for blending contemporary movement with African influences.

Regina Klenjoski’s choreography has been recognized for its innovative partnering and dynamic energy while Sophie Monat is the only choreographer on the program who is using dancers en pointe.

Malashock Dance is presenting two excerpts from larger works by veteran contemporary choreographers John Malashock, a former dancer with Twyla Tharp Dance, and Michael Mizerany, a former dancer with Loretta Livingston & Dancers and Bella Lewitzky Dance Company. While Malashock’s “Everybody Knows” looks at the push and pull of a less-than-perfect relationship, Mizerany’s visceral duet “Tethered” examines our need for, and fear of losing, control.


What: Celebrate Dance 2011

Where: Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $35 to $15 (all children seated with an adult, $10)

Info: (818) 243-2539 or

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