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Teatro El Grande returns to Tecopa community

Teatro El Grande’s Circus of Fine Arts returns to the big white tent in Tecopa this month with a new show on the weekends of Sept. 22-24, and Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

Created and choreographed by dancer Jenna McClintock, the show will feature live music, spoken word and, of course, dancing and pantomime.

McClintock says this show, called Patterns and Chaos, has a more serious tone than her previous performances, which she describes as fluffy and light.

Distressed by the acrimony so prominent in recent political events, she was inspired to create a dance pantomime theme that “visits the disorder of discrimination and fear/hatred,” she said, and the eventual return to light.

“This piece is a little more modern, different than anything I’ve done before,” she says, although the idea has been with her for a long time. One of the central pieces of the show is Bela Bartok’s String Quartet #5 Adagio Molto, which she first heard when she was in her early 20s.

“Most of Bartok’s music scared me but this was so melodic and haunting but still soothing. I knew I wanted to choreograph to it, but I knew was too young then.”

Other classical music pieces featured in the performance include works by Maurice Ravel and Ernesto Lecuona.

McClintock invited local children to participate in the show and two young people will play the roles of protagonists “delivering chaos and light, guiding us away from darkness.”

Padi Kirk, 10, and Sam Fann, 11, will accompany her in part of the dance pantomime sequence. Madi Messer, 9, and Jacob Messer, 6, contributed to the choreography and artwork/props.

Musicians ‘TerraPan’ Jim Matson, who plays steel drums that he hand-makes from old propane cylinders, George Leger and Jim Hightower will perform. The evening also includes poetry by Amy Noel, modern dance and spoken word performance.

Teatro El Grande also features, as an integral part of the stage sets and performances, works by local artists including Lara Murray and David Aaron Smith.

One prominent piece in the show is by Pahrump-based sculptor Eino. It’s called “The Circle of Life” and plays a symbolic role in the journey from darkness to light experienced by the character of Moochi.

The host for this show is McClintock’s long-time friend Gregory Perez, who worked as stage manager at the Amargosa Opera House when McClintock was dancing there for Marta Becket. “We grew up together in the Oakland Ballet,” McClintock says of Perez.

Showtime for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances is 8 p.m., under the big white tent at the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort on Tecopa Hot Springs Road, just past the campground and hot baths. The show is free with a suggested $10 donation.

Robin Flinchum is a freelance writer and editor living in Tecopa, California. Her book, “Red Light Women of Death Valley,” was published last year.

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