Contemplating the Past in Dance Film and Performance Forward Looking Back

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From Friday, March 11 to Sunday, March 13, dance company Acts of Matter premieres Forward Looking Back at Stomping Ground LA. The show, created by company founder and artistic director Rebecca Lemme (Dance MFA 13), features both a dance film and a live stage performance, marking the company’s return to the stage after two years. 

Forward Looking Back was created around a contemplation of the past few years, with Lemme asking “How have we changed? What have we learned? What do we carry with us? Where do we go from here?”

Lemme is a choreographer, performer, educator, and visual artist with performance credits at venues including LA Contemporary Dance Company, Heidi Duckler Dance Theater, Santa Barbara Dance Theater, Los Angeles Theater Center, and River North Dance Chicago. Currently an associate professor at California State University Long Beach (CSULB), she founded Acts of Matter in 2014 as a company dedicated to finding the innate human experience of trying, of looking to find connection, of seeing the universal, and uniting in the individual. 

The performers of Forward Looking Back represent a cross-generational company, reflecting the past, present, and future of Acts of Matter, many of whom are alums from CalArts and CSULB. 

Starting outside, the audience will first watch the film, created mostly as a single shot by Malachi Middleton, the cinematographer and co-director of the film alongside Lemme. The film score features music created by CalArts alums Lauren Elizabeth Baba (Music BFA 12), Louis Lopez (Music BFA 10, MFA 12), Andrew Rowan (Music MFA 12), Gregory Uhlmann (Music BFA 14), and Steven van Betten (Music BFA 14). 

The dancers on film are Orlando Agawin, Laura Berg (Dance BFA 14), Cody Brunelle-Potter, Joan Fricke (Dance BFA 16), Kearian Giertz (Dance BFA 16), Kayla Ann Marie Johnson (Dance BFA 16), Kaia Makihara, Ryan Ruiz, and Taylor Worden.  

Transitioning the evening from two dimensional to three dimensional dance, audiences will then go to an indoor performance space. The live performance is choreographed and directed by Lemme, and features Berg, Sarah Butler, Middleton, Ruiz, Colleen Hendricks, and Tetiana Sklyarova (Dance BFA 21). Music is by Baba (Music BFA 12) and Michael Wall. 

Audiences will be standing for the first part of the evening and are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Accessibility requests can be made, and ADA seats are available to be reserved. Proof of vaccination is required, and attendees must wear masks at all times for the hour-long show.

Tickets for Forward Looking Back are $20 in advance, $15 for students, and $25 at the door. 

—by Ishika Muchhal

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