Malashock Dance brings RAW2 to La Jolla Playhouse, Oct. 20-22

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt

RAW: Rude. Rough. Unrefined. Not words that usually come to mind in relation to Malashock Dance, a bright star on the local dance scene since 1988. But last fall’s “Malashock/RAW,” featuring pieces by artistic director John Malashock, assistant artistic director Michael Mizerany, and guest choreographer Bradley Michaud, was a big hit at the late, lamented Sushi downtown. Now the company is bringing “RAW2,” an all-new trio of provocative, boundary-smashing dances, to the La Jolla Playhouse, and it’s definitely a hot ticket.

“It’s a nice balance to have different forums for our work, to be able to tap into different sides of ourselves as artists — raw and refined,” Malashock said. “And we wanted to expand our choreography, invite other people’s work in, besides just using my own.”

The stripped-down format also applies to the RAW budget. “We’re not spending much on costumes or sets,” Mizerany said. “We’re concerned with the dances and the dancers.”

This time, they’ve invited Henry Torres and Angel Arambula from Lux Boreal, a Tijuana dance company that’s been making a name for itself on both sides of the border.

“We’ve known Lux Boreal for a long time, and always admired their work,” said Malashock. “And Henry Torres has taught master classes in our studio. Now they’re creating a new piece, “Harem,” here, and basically all we know about it is in their press release. That’s part of the excitement of RAW, for us and our audiences: You don’t know what you’re gonna get.”

Malashock and Mizerany are also excited about their own new pieces for “



“With ‘

Piece of Work!’

I’m going back to how I began creating dances. I really wanted to get very intimate and personal, to develop some unique characters and emotional story lines,” Malashock said. “And I’m using some really exciting music, like Brian Eno and David Byrne, along with some more current sounds.”


‘Desperate Love’

is set to a score that combines tribal drumbeats, techno, and new age music.

“The piece is in five sections, with four dancers, and it’s about desperate people trying to find a way to love,” Mizerany said. “There’s lots of skin, lots of sweat, lots of conflict, lots of fast, dynamic movement. My pieces tend to be very carnal, about how people relate to each other through their bodies and their hearts.”

In “


,” the company is introducing a wider variety of dancers, with eight guest artists augmenting their regular troupe. And


promises to be an annual event, with new pieces and guest choreographers every year.

“RAW2” also signals the beginning of a new working relationship between Malashock Dance and La Jolla Playhouse. “We’re hoping to develop a complete workshop version of ‘


at the Playhouse,” said Malashock, referring to the dance/musical about artist Marc Chagall that he and klezmer musician/composer Yale Strom have been working on for years.

But first: it’s


time. Three brave new dances, three nights only.

If you go

What: Malashock ‘RAW2’

When: 8 p.m. Oct. 20-22

Where: Mandell Weiss Forum Theater, La Jolla Playhouse

Box Office: (619) 260-1622