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The Flowering of Desire (Donna Sternberg and Dancers) – In Review

March 19, 2012

In the trees, over benches, facing the sun, on the grass – just a few of the places that Donna Sternberg’s dancers recently could be found dancing at the Palisades Park in Santa Monica.  This was my second outing to see her work performed and my first on-site performance.  I must admit, I liked the integration of the setting so fundamentally into the choreography.  The Flowering of Desire is a multi-year project which looks at desire through the perspective of the plant.  As out there as it may seem, the premise expressed itself very coherently through the choreography and use of the park grounds.

The Flowering of Desire - Donna Sternberg & Dancers (c)

The dance ranged from slow movements, mimicking how plants track the sun, to crawling over benches and trees, much like a vine may intertwine upon its surroundings.  Partnering work called to mind the movement of pollen in search of a flower to join.  Brightly colored costumes and earthy movements transformed the dancers into living flowers.

The use of the grounds themselves was highly enjoyable.  The dancers moved to five different sections of the park, making the use of existing flora, benches, sculptures and open grass.  Moving in and out of the natural surroundings in an outdoor setting made it easy to identify with the botanical themes.  I would love to see this piece performed in a formal garden, such as Descanso Gardens.

Perhaps the most interesting part was watching the faces of random pedestrians passing by while on an afternoon stroll or run.  Amusement, surprise and even fascination could be seen.  What a great way to connect the public with dance performances.  Overall, an engaging piece and one that showcases Donna Sternberg’s strengths in site-based work and scientific themes as inspiration.

For more information about Donna Sternberg and Dancers, visit:

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