A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of both a life-changing after-school program rooted in dance and an annual collaborative performance between students and nationally recognized choreographers, The Wooden Floor presents “Limitless” on the Barclay stage in Irvine this Thursday through Saturday, June 1-3, 2023. Shows start at 8 p.m. and, on Saturday, June 3, at 2:30 p.m. as well. 

These productions are surrounded by a host of culinary activities and pre-show discussions. 

This year, the highly acclaimed dance makers include two returning award-winning artists, Keely Garfield and John Heginbotham, and the current artistic director of The Wooden Floor, Jennifer Bassage Bonfil.

Working with youngsters in elementary through high school in and around Santa Ana, these shows are not the typical end-of-year dance recital one might expect from a private studio or high school dance elective. They involve behind-the-stage artists with top-drawer professional credits, both locally and internationally, and are, creatively, a joint effort between the experienced adults and their younger colleagues. 

In promotional materials, Bassage Bonfil describes her premiere as “highlighting each dancer’s extraordinary influence on the ensemble” through a movement vocabulary they’ve developed specifically for this event. Juxtaposing “structure and disorder,” the piece is set to an original score composed by Patrick Vargas and Brian Wood. 

Garfield likens “Spoondrift” to “a spray of seawater swept from the canopy of waves propelled by strong winds.” Calling it an “oceanic flow of perpetual motion that erupts and wanes, capsizes and rolls, it celebrates unity while lifting up each dancer’s uniqueness.” Its soundscape has been created by Jeff Berman to underscore the dance with percussive and lyrical twists.

The Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra provides the accompaniment to the dancers’ and Heginbotham’s exploration of the concepts of distance and perspective in their new work. Inspired by NASA’s 1977 Voyager Program, “this project considers the idea of the pale blue dot on which we live, where everything happens” in this much larger Milky Way galaxy.

Though the performers are young, their pathways to these stage moments are completely adult. They’ve been integral contributors to the making of these movement-based and not necessarily linear narratives, encouraged and supported by high-caliber professionals in the field. Whether they do or don’t continue in dance directions, their lives have been enriched by their participation in this groundbreaking ancillary to an academic program. 

—Benn Widdey, Culture Spot LA


Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine 92612 






Photo courtesy of The Wooden Floor