At 85, choreographer Rudy Perez is still desirous by a rhythms of bland life

November 7, 2015 - accent chair

Choreographer Rudy Perez might be 85 and legally blind, though when he strolls along a sidewalks circuitously Hollywood and Vine on a new afternoon, his prophesy is transparent clear.

Gripping his cane, a colonize of 1960s postmodern dance takes slow, counsel steps, feeling for potholes and quell edges with his toes, as if this were one of his performances.

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He stops by a construction site, an conflict of drills sputtering, steel clanking, trucks beeping. Then Perez, who lives nearby, turns his ear to a site, squints underneath his propitious white ball top and smiles, contentedly. What does he imagine? A symphony.

“Wow, they’re doing a pleasing job,” he says, enjoying a cacophony. More than 3 decades in L.A. hasn’t diluted his complicated Bronx accent. “It’s wonderful, it’s amazing. Everything is so suspicion out, so accurate and transparent and precise,” he says of a noise. “It’s like a opening piece.”

Perez has prolonged found impulse in walking sounds, a rhythms of bland life. His work juxtaposes clearly elementary bodywork with doubtful audio sources, including construction noise, saddening request or even a tinkle and burn of Julia Child cooking asparagus in his 1966 square “Bang Bang.” He’s famous for spare, accurate movements — one outstretched arm aiming for a ceiling, a angled hook or lean — though with his still moves, Perez has had an huge change on a arena of Los Angeles dance. After study with Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham in a ’50s, Perez blossomed in New York’s avant garde ’60s dance scene. He brought his innovative and interpretive epitome expressionism to L.A. in ’78, igniting a nascent stage locally.

“He came to L.A. as a vital artist, a choreographic talent famous for creation his possess rules,” says choreographer Lula Washington, who cites Perez as an influence. “There was nobody here doing that form of investigation then. He authorised other people to see a possibilities.”

On Nov. 7, UC Irvine will benefaction a choreographer a lifetime feat endowment during “The Art of Performance in Irvine: A Tribute to Rudy Perez.” As partial of a evening, a Rudy Perez Performance Ensemble will entrance work that he choreographed for a event, “Slate in Three Parts.” Despite Perez’s age and marred prophesy due to glaucoma and macular degeneration, he still works with a garb each Sunday during a Westside School of Ballet, where he’s been training for some-more than 30 years. The new three-piece opening is both in line with Perez’s minimalist character and a departure, in that “everything is perpetually changing,” he says. “That’s what keeps it alive.”

Choreographing is a onslaught for Perez. He misses being means to review facial expressions. But with adequate light, he says, he can see simple shapes and shadows. Familiarity with a studio space and his dancers helps.

He also leans on his ears to create. Most days are spent in his apartment, with radios in a bedroom and vital room tuned to KUSC-FM (91.5) and KPCC-FM (89.3) from a impulse he wakes until bedtime. The ubiquitous brew of exemplary music, news gibberish and bland ambient sound melds with long-ago memory to hint ideas for movement. “But zero is planned, it all comes from a unconscious,” he says. He also takes impulse from stream dance performances. When friends and students stop by with groceries or to collect him adult for alloy appointments, they send sum of what they’ve seen.

“When we put things together, unconsciously, it comes from my lifetime knowledge adult to that moment,” he says. “Then ultimately, it turns out to be about something for someone, positively for me. But we don’t design for it to be a same for a audience.”

Just don’t ask Perez what a square is about. Of a new “Slate,” he says: “It’s really most how we feel about what’s going on in a world.”

“Which is what, exactly?” he’s asked.

“I’m not gonna say. I’m really abstract. Once it becomes narrative, it’s all over. Let a assembly confirm what it’s about.”

Then: “Come on, they don’t ask Merce this stuff.”