Hold on Tight, Malashock’s ‘Eye of the Beholder’ is Devoted to Daring Duets

In dance, theater and film, John Malashock, Artistic Director of Malashock Dance, has an eye for athletic partnering.  Hold on tight.  Eye of the Beholder, (which runs Nov. 1-4), brings new and revised works to an intimate studio setting, and they’re devoted to daring duets.

Malashock Dance presents Eye of the Beholder at Dance Place. Image: 1000 Words Photography

“Every seat in our studio at Dance Place is in the splash zone,” Malashock said with a grin, “because all of the dancers work extra hard. This show is made up of 13 different pieces, and I’ve gone back to what I love most about dance–relationships, partnering and storytelling.”

There’s a quartet and there are some trios, but the program for 10 dancers celebrates the duet.

“They have storylines,” Malashock said, “and they’re relatable. As for lifts, you know I’m an equal opportunist. Men and women in the company lift everyone.”

Malashock’s premiere works “Black and White” and “Disappointment Lake” are set to music by John Adams, a composer known for his minimalist works and the operas Nixon in China and Doctor Atomic.

“I Love How You Love Me” is set to the Paris Sisters from the 1960s. “Slip Away” is fueled by Laurie Anderson, a composer and performance artist known for violin and car horn orchestrations and driving rock beats.

Also on the program are favorites from 2001 such as “Living with Others” set to Ravel, and “Face to Face,” set to cellist Maya Beiser.

There are no dances with long poles set to George Bizet this time, but that could change. Malashock is the original choreographer of The Pearl Fishers Opera that originated in San Diego. He has set it all over the country, most recently in Chicago where his choreography was deemed outstanding. He held auditions in Kansas a few months ago.

“It’s our 15th time re-staging it, he said, we hope San Diego Opera brings it back here. They own the production, and it’s been very successful.  It should be here. And yes, I’d hire local dancers.” (If you can’t wait, The Pearl Fishers runs April 27-May 5, 2019. Lyric Opera of Kansas City).

Malashock chose the title Eye of the Beholder because everyone sees dance their own way.

“I expect every person to have their own reaction to what they see,” he says. “The show combines many styles. Let’s see, six new pieces, and seven from the past, that’s a huge span of time.  And we have new dancers and others returning to reprise the work.

Sarah Emmons balances in a hand stand as Courtney Giannoe holds an impossible horizontal pose in Eye of the Beholder, presented by Malashock Dance. Image: 1000 Words Photography

“Sarah Emmons is a great addition to our dance community and company, and so is our new male dancer, Darren Oei (pronounced Oy). We are thrilled to have Justin Viernes and Christine Marshall return to us.”

Malashock Dance Company also includes: Courtney Giannone, Jennifer Fait Puls, Andrea Rehm, Marisa Shimano, Brittany Taylor, and Rachel Torres.

“When it comes to partnering and lifts,” Malashock admits, “there’s always some tossing. In the studio there are black drapes and lighting, and every seat is in the zone.”

In previous shows, such as the Malashock/Raw series, feather-light women seemed to spend more time in the air than on the dance floor. In a studio show a few years back, a dancer burst toward the audience, and left a sweaty trail on the floor as she was dragged away.

For Eye of the Beholder, viewers should expect dangerous dancing up close and personal.

“Partnering is my favorite way to connect with people,” Malashock said. “As a performer it was always my favorite thing to do.  When I’m creating work, I see possibilities.  There’s that moment when I say to a dancer, ‘is it possible for you to do this?’ and they somehow make it happen.”

Eye of the Beholder runs Nov. 1-4, 2018. Seating is limited to 60 in the studio space.

November 1 – 2 at 7:30 p.m. November 3 at 6:00 and 8:30 p.m. November 4 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.

The Abbe Wolfsheimer Studio at Malashock Dance. Liberty Station.  www.malashockdance.org


Hearing the Future. Jan 9-27, 2019. The San Diego Symphony’s festival will showcase the power of music and art. The fest will feature collaborations with other arts organizations: The Old Globe; Art of Elan; Athenaeum Music & Arts Library; Fresh Sound; Malashock Dance; San Diego Dance Theater; The Museum of Contemporary Art SD; and Sandbox.

Making Dance: The Future Starts Now. Jan 19, 2019. 7-9 pm.  The Hub at IDEA1 Apartments.  Audience members get a rare peek into the creative process and see how movement is made from scratch. “I’m choreographing in front of an audience,” Malashock said. “It’s a lot of pressure, which is fun for me.  It’s on the fly. People never get to see that. On the courtyard with a live pianist.” www.sandiegosymphony.org.


  1. Blythe on October 29, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Lovely article! Merde to all!

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