Dimitri Chamblas, Dean of the Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at CalArts, directs piece for 1000 vocalists, crowd out, for LA Phil. Photo by Julien Mignot. Courtesy of CalArts. Click here for high resolution photo.
Acclaimed dancer, choreographer draws on his expertise with performance in public places to direct a work for singers from communities throughout Los Angeles, as part of LA Phil’s Noon to Midnight festival
Valencia, CA (May 13. 2019)– On Saturday, June 1, Dimitri Chamblas, world-renowned dancer, choreographer, and dean of the Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), will make his LA Phil debut. As the director of composer David Lang’s internationally-acclaimed vocal work crowd out, Chamblas brings a choreographer’s perspective to its West Coast premiere at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
“At CalArts, I’ve worked on proposing new spaces and relationships to the audience that reframe the body and dance in new contexts,” said Chamblas. For his staging of the monumental piece, Chamblas is eradicating divisions between audience and vocalists in the concert hall. One thousand singers from communities across Los Angeles (integrated with 2,000 audience members) will join together in a massive chorale of breathing, talking, silence, yelling, listening, and responding. The production kicks off the LA Phil’s day-long Noon to Midnight festival and is part of the season-long Fluxus Festival.
“I didn’t adapt the piece to fit the theater,” said Chamblas. “I’m letting the piece transform it. I consider the Disney Hall as a single space, one volume, a public place inhabited by 3,000 humans. For crowd out, we will use the whole space, stage as well as floor-space, audience and performers spread out and mixed together.”
During the performance, vocalists will intermingle with the audience, slowly transforming the swirling babble into a stunningly orchestrated whirlwind of voices, building a massive community experience. Participants will represent a wide and unique swath of Southern California performers, including CalArts students, the Los Angeles Lady Arm Wrestlers, non-binary comedy troupe The Ruby LA, Hawaiian dance school Halau Keali’l O Nalani, and many more.
“A singer is a body first, a physical presence, before generating the voice,” noted Chamblas. “As a choreographer/director, I love to think about the voice as a whole choreographic territory. With 3,000 people in a room—a third of them singing—you need nothing else. Nothing artificial. No theatrics. We are all together in the space. The emptiness emphasizes the human condition... and allows us to build a community experience within it.”
The idea for crowd out came to Pulitzer Prize-winner Lang during a soccer match in London more than 20 years ago, when he was struck by the thousands of voices of the crowd swelling, cresting, and receding, sometimes in unison, sometimes against one another. The major vocal work - one of the largest ever performed, composed for 1,000 voices with text crowdsourced from various Internet search engines - seeks to express the emotions felt within a crowd: excitement, fear, loneliness.
World-renowned performer, choreographer, multidisciplinary artist, and curator Chamblas joined CalArts in summer 2017 from his previous position as artistic director of the Paris Opera’s creative digital platform 3rd Stage. He joined the Paris Opera’s celebrated dance school at age 10 and, during his career, has collaborated with such renowned performers, visual artists, and designers as Regine Chopinot, Jean-Paul Gautier, Richard Alston, Andy Goldworthy, Christian Boltanski, William Forsythe, composer Heiner Goebbels, and Boris Charmatz, with whom he co-founded acclaimed dance company EDNA in 1992. Since 2011, he has collaborated with renowned choreographer and LA Dance Project (LADP) artistic director Benjamin Millepied and created an innovative partnership with CalArts Dance and LADP. From the Paris Opera to a music video with Solange, from art galleries to the streets and back to campus, CalArts Dance has participated in an astounding number of performances and collaborations since Chamblas joined CalArts as dean. Read more about Chamblas here.
Video: crowd out world premiere in Birmingham, England, June 2014
crowd out will take place at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles at noon on Saturday, June 1, 2019. Tickets can be obtained individually or by purchasing tickets to Noon to Midnight at laphil.com.
The mission of the Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at CalArts is to educate the complete dance artist—agile, intelligent, and in command of an expanded skill-set to meet the fast-evolving demands of professional dance. Click here for more information.
About the Los Angeles Philharmonic
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, presents an inspiring array of music from all genres – orchestral, chamber, and Baroque music, organ and celebrity recitals, new music, jazz, world music, and pop – at two of L.A.'s iconic venues, Walt Disney Concert Hall (laphil.com) and the Hollywood Bowl (hollywoodbowl.com). The LA Phil’s season at Walt Disney Concert Hall extends from September through June, and throughout the summer at the Hollywood Bowl. With the preeminent Los Angeles Philharmonic at the foundation of its offerings, the LA Phil aims to enrich and transform lives through music, with a robust mix of artistic, education, and community programs.