The Blue13 Dance Company – Talent in Search of a Concept

By Ernest Kearney — The BLUE13 Dance Company according to Paul Crewes, the Artistic Director of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, is reimagining “the classical forms from India, with an American contemporary aesthetic.”

And that is true enough.

The result is a rather gorgeous goulash of Bollywood high-stepping, with a heaping tablespoon of hip-hop for sharpness, slightly dulcified by a pinch or so of ballet and a generous portion of theatricality to ensure the visual succulence of the entrée served. It is a toothsome treat that is set before the audience, but like “haute-cuisine” in general, one leaves the table feeling less than sated.

Yes, the BLUE13 Dance Company’s staging is exceedingly well presented. The ambiance is crafted and meticulous, and that a lot of talent is involved in the undertaking is undeniable.

However, overall, it would have benefited from less “haute” and more Phaal.

The company, under Director and Choreographer Achinta S. McDaniel, shows itself to be a skilled and dynamic troupe of young dancers.

The energy and zeal is there, reflecting the natural qualities inherent in the youthfulness of the troupe, but then so are the shortcomings associated with youth; foibles which perhaps McDaniel is either enamored of or is possibly too close to the trees to observe them lurking within the forest.

Conceivably due to the company’s eagerness to bowl over their audience, the presentation is overlong. This would be a negligible blemish except for the fact that it is exacerbated by repetition within the routines. That counterproductive exuberance is one of those shortcomings I mentioned.

There’s a reason the old theatrical saw “Always leave them wanting more,” has been around long enough to qualify as an “old theatrical saw.”
In the program notes Blue13 is described as a “fiery confluence.”

Unfortunately I didn’t see it, and though it was a talented group of dancers, I felt I was not viewing a company but a classroom.

What was lacking, and was greatly needed, was spice.

One of my favorite terms from the realm of flamenco is “coraje.”

It applies to a way of performing that is infused with a certain daring or impetuosity.

Both the artistic demarcation and the talent of McDaniel’s company displays the promise of “coraje,” but what was presented on the stage at the Annenberg, was at best, pretty.

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Blue13 Dance Company
Terpsichore in Ghungroos and Contemporary/Bollywood Works


Feb 21 – Feb 22 | 07:30 PM

Artistic Director: Achinta S. McDaniel
Associate Director: Jon Paul
Choreography: Achinta S. McDaniel

Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at and Follow him on Facebook.

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