Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Jennifer Gross
Evolutionary Media Group 

For Anais Nin, Self-Examination Through Writing was More Intimate Than Sex

Dance, music and theatre exploring life of famed diarist and literary figure Anaïs Nin and her world of words, sex, passion and creativity

 

September 3, 2016

With Anaïs, A Dance Opera, Cindy Shapiro and Janet Roston delve into Nin's life and writings, addressing the author's complex relationships with her father, her husbands, and her lovers, including her most famous paramour, Henry Miller.

Anaïs, A Dance Opera, explodes on stage by incorporating music, dance and visual projections into a cutting edge stage production that explores and illuminates the riveting life of famed diarist and literary figure Anaïs Nin and her world of words, sex, passion and creativity.

Anaïs, A Dance Opera celebrates Nin's story as one of personal and artistic triumph which continues to influence the world today. Sensuous, probing, compelling and thought provoking, the production is presented with one live female vocalist as Eternal Anaïs supported by six dancers who, with projections, tell the absorbing life story of Anaïs Nin.

The dancers bring the controversial author to life in a production that shatters stage conventions in the same way Nin herself violated literary and societal expectations.

Cindy Shapiro's lyrics and music, with Janet Roston's intricate choreography and direction, and deeply engaging visual projections by designer Joe LaRue, weave Nin's story, intertwining excerpts from her diaries and her groundbreaking erotica. The dancers and vocalist unveil the author's journey of self-discovery which took her from a naïve young housewife into the café society of Paris, where she emerged as an important literary figure during the 1930s, through her life in the United States during and after World War II, to her death and its aftermath in the 1970s.

These adventures of self-exploration led the author through numerous simultaneous relationships, anonymous and random sexual encounters (at times dressed as a man), bigamy, and grand deceptions which she kept track of using what she called her "Lie Box," ultimately, to be revered as a multifaceted, multidimensional woman who created her own heat and became her own sun.

The music and lyrics by Cindy Shapiro, an artist-in-residence at Cité International des Arts and a Tides Grant recipient, blend classical contemporary layering with a rock sensibility. The choreography by Janet Roston, an Ovation Award-winning choreographer, is contemporary with sections inspired by vintage dance.

The result of their collaboration is sonically compelling, kinetic and full of visual surprises.

As Shapiro's carefully researched and compelling libretto reveals, Nin's deepest and most passionate relationship was with herself, she was the "original blogger". For her the act of self-examination through writing was more intimate than any sex act.

With Anaïs, A Dance Opera Cindy Shapiro and Janet Roston, whose work together includes the rock opera Psyche, delve into Nin's life and writings, addressing the author's complex relationships with her father, her husbands, and her lovers, including her most famous paramour, Henry Miller. And as Shapiro's carefully researched and compelling libretto reveals, Nin's deepest and most passionate relationship was with herself, she was the "original blogger". For her the act of self-examination through writing was more intimate than any sex act.

Anaïs, A Dance Opera, which has the support of the Anaïs Nin Trust and Nin's publisher Paul Herron, celebrates Nin's story as one of personal and artistic triumph, placing her rightfully as a woman who carved a place for herself in a traditionally male world. Nin blazed a trail for visionary souls, and Anaïs, a Dance Opera brings her story to a new generation with Shapiro and Roston's post-modern and compelling interpretation.

This contemporary stage production opens August 27, 2016 through September 18, 2016 for a four-week run at the Greenway Court Theatre 544 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036.

Conceived and Created by Janet Roston and Cindy Shapiro

Music and Lyrics composed by Cindy Shapiro

Directed and Choreographed by Janet Roston Greenway

 

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