By Charlene Baldridge
Choreographer Michael Mizerany has a new mission in life
One never knows what dance genius, choreographer Michael Mizerany, will come up with next.
The latest is the West Coast premiere of his new Compulsion Dance & Theatre, of which he is the artistic director.
Performances take place as part of Diversionary Theatre’s Cabaret Series, Aug. 6-9, and judging from the photos, it will be hot, hot, hot. That is, if one admires the male body, and who does not? In addition to “issues decidedly male,” one may expect Mizerany’s in-your-face choreography, some powerful dancers and some death-defying lifts.
“Compulsion Dance & Theatre (CD&T) will help fulfill my mission of presenting cutting edge, daring dance and theater works that are visually stunning and viscerally potent,” Mizerany said. “The company infrastructure will be a major asset in securing funding (he’s obtaining 501(c)3 status), grants and stipends to help support my work as well as costs for new dance festivals.
“I think it’s important to give opportunities to up-and-coming choreographers to showcase their work. I have done this in the past with ‘Hot Guys Dancing,’ ‘SWEAT!’ ‘Malashock/RAW’ and ‘Dancer Briefs.’ The formation of CD&T will be a major asset in continuing this endeavor,” he added.
The inclusion of ‘& Theatre’ in the company’s title allows Mizerany to present plays and/or musicals down the road. He started out as a theater major in college and, in the last few years his interest in theater — musical theater to be exact — has been reignited.
As a matter of fact, the premiere of CD&T took place at his alma mater, Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, where he was asked to premiere a new work. “I made a piece titled ‘Uncoupling’ and premiered it and my company there in the Midwest,” he said.
To paraphrase the creator’s description, “Uncoupling” concerns a couple (Bradley Lundberg and Erica Ruse, who recreate it here) who are emotionally distant but physically hot. “Some of the movement and the lifts will take your breath away. It’s incredible,” the choreographer says.
The other premiere piece on the program at Diversionary is titled “Man Clan” (also the evening’s overall title), in which Mizerany looks at images and stereotypes. It’s a satire with extreme fighting that can be construed as homoerotic juxtaposed on another section that is very romantic. It’s all about individual reaction and perception and one’s comfort level with each. Mizerany says that parts of the work are very funny, and he considers it an acting piece as well as a movement work.
“It’s very visual and visceral and active,” he said of the entire evening, which also includes “Via Dolorosa,” danced by Chad Ortiz to Morten Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium” (a Diversionary commission) and the award-winning “Bump in the Road.”
The company comprises Marty Anthony Dorado, Lundberg, Ortiz, Ruse and Nicholas Strasburg.
“They are incredible dancers who dance up a storm, and they’re nice people, too,” said Mizerany, who is currently teaching musical theater workshops at J* Company. In August, he goes to Seattle Opera to reset John Malashock’s dances for “The Pearl Fishers.”
“John set it in 2004, and we’ve reset it 15 times at 11 opera companies, including twice at San Diego and twice at Michigan Opera. I danced in seven of the productions,” he said.
Mizerany retired from dancing four years ago. He’s now in in impresario mode, so watch out.