Creating dance programs that are both entertaining and thought-provoking is the goal of BODYTRAFFIC. This contemporary dance company based in Los Angeles was founded by Lillian Rose Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett in 2007.
During BODYTRAFFIC’s appearance on February 5 at the Lensic Performing Arts Center as guests of Performance Santa Fe, the company showcases four works in its repertoire. It also previews a new piece choreographed by one of the company’s former dancers, James Greggs, along with break dancer RubberLegz.
“We gear our programs to have a wide appeal,” explains Barbeito, who grew up in Santa Fe and graduated from Santa Fe High School in 1994.
BODYTRAFFIC’s seven dancers present Sidra Bell’s “Beyond the Edge of the Frame,” Stijn Celis’s “Fragile Dwellings,” Richard Siegal’s “O2Joy” and Matthew Neenan’s “A Million Voices.”
BODYTRAFFIC evaluates production elements when it presents “Resolve” by Gregg and RubberLegz. “We’ll take a video of it in Santa Fe and make our final decisions after we’re back in L.A.,” Barbeito says.
More than 22 choreographers have created work for BODYTRAFFIC, including Barbeito who has choreographed more than 50 dances for students and professional dance companies. “We do enjoy working with risk-taking choreographers, but mainly we look for people who have a choreographic voice that’s compatible with ours,” she adds. “We like to see our choreographers’ works live before we began working with them. That’s the best way for us to experience what they do.”
Barbeito and Berkett are equally as choosy when selecting dancers for their contemporary dance company. “Of course, we look for agile, expressive and musical dancers,” says Barbeito. “That’s a given. But we also want upstanding citizens of the world who are friendly, humble and accessible. They have to have stage presence and personality.”
BODYTRAFFIC has performed at theaters and festivals around the world and made its Hollywood Bowl debut in 2016 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Last season, the company celebrated its 10th season with an international tour to more than 20 cities, including Moscow and St. Petersburg.
In addition to performing, BODYTRAFFIC has an extensive outreach and education program that provides training opportunities for pre-professionals dancers. The company also customizes dance experiences for groups around the globe.