From June 12 through 14, choreographer Lionel Popkin brings dance, live music and a stage strewn with lush fabric to REDCAT. In Ruth Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Popkin mines the life of modern dance pioneer Ruth St. Denis to investigate questions of cultural appropriation.
St. Denis, perhaps best known for bringing eastern philosophy to modern dance, became interested in Asian art and dance after seeing a cigarette ad featuring the Egyptian goddess Isis. She started choreographing “Oriental” dances complete with lavish costumes, with varying, if any, authenticity. Popkin, who is half-Jewish and half-Indian, uses St. Denis’ life as a vessel to examine his own relationship with representations of South Asia.
In an interview with Dances Made to Order, Popkin talks about the idea for Ruth Doesn’t Live Here Anymore:
For the last eight or so years the dances I have been making have sourced the Indian subcontinent is some way. It seemed time to examine why I kept going there for source work, particularly because at my artistic heart I am a post-modernist. And so entered Ruth St. Denis: one of western concert dance’s grandmas and an incorrigible cultural appropriator.
Ruth Doesn’t Live Here Anymore is performed to a live score by avant-garde composer Guy Klucevsek. CalArts alumnus Christopher Kuhl (Theater BFA 05) provides lighting design for the performance.
Above is a trailer for Ruth Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.
Ruth Doesn't Live Here Anymore
June 12 to 14
631 W. 2nd St., Los Angeles
Tickets: general $20-25, discount $10-20