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Made In L.A.: Simone Forti, 19/60

Made-In-L.A-Simone-Forti-1960

Made In L.A. is coming to the Hammer, Barnsdall Park, LAXART, and billboards around town on June 2 and will showcase sixty emerging, under-recognized Los Angeles artists–one of which will be voted to win a $100,000 prize. In order to help you make an educated vote this summer, we’re counting down to Made In L.A. by showcasing each artist participating in the biennial.

Simone Forti is a performance artist who is not the type of performance artist you are thinking of: she’s a postmodern dancer and choreographer. She is also one of the most seasoned artists featured in the show, ranking among the eldest Made In L.A. artists at 76.

Forti is known for her expressionistic style of dance, which often dips into naturalism and non-dance looking forms of dance. She often uses tools like ropes and even see-saws to aid in this, which help to tie together dancers and forms relationship. Her work carries a great tranquility to it and a calmness you don’t usually associate with dance, therefore turning the movements she choreographs in addition to the tools she uses to make them more powerful: they are moving sculptures composed of people. In Hangers, an excerpt of which you can see above, dancers literally hang on ropes, which carry them just at their feet like swings. Other dancers then walk and sway with them, the persons hanging almost at the will of the walkers. It’s an expression that surely gets at relationships we all have and feelings we have with people: her work gets at the root of how we interact and expresses them through dance.

Similarly, her Huddle sees people using each other as a basis for climbing, supporting each other to get to the top while also requiring the successful to remain at the bottom. It’s a very strong metaphorical piece that has become one of Forti’s calling cards. One of her Dance Constructions, as she calls them, does something similar to both pieces using a see-saw, as alluded to before. Both dancers move slowly, conscious but unfocused on the other, a great balancing act that requires much patience and faith from the audience, who surely are a little concerned about the dangers of see-sawing while not looking at the other see-sawer.

We’re actually really excited about Forti’s work because she is a super duper old pro who has worked with people like Yoko Ono. In college I had the chance to work with a similar choreographer (Liz Lerman) and absolutely loved the experience and the work. Dance in this style is something so visceral and metaphorical and passionate and sculptural that–although it seems like dances “anyone can do”–are often some of the most moving works ever created. Forti is going to be having several performances ranging from June 12 to August 16 at various venues, where she will be sharing her News Animations from the mid-1980s. Get excited and get ready to move, folks.

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