Christian Rizzo at REDCAT

Talk about dancing to the beat of your own drum, this season at REDCAT, CAL ARTS starts with the unforgettable resonance of industrial tribal drumming, led by famed choreographer Christian Rizzo, and his remarkable Turkish inspired folk dances performed by an 8 man ensemble.

REDCAT, CalArts’ Downtown Center for Contemporary Arts, opened its 2016/17 Season with the internationally acclaimed music and dance collaboration d’aprés une histoire vraie (based on a true story) by provocative choreographer Christian Rizzo. Performance on Thursday, September 15. The critically acclaimed show will run to Sunday, September 18, 2016.

To the sound of energizing tribal rock music by two percussionists on stage, Christian Rizzo extols the masculine in a ritual that combines contemporary dance with abstracted elements of folk dances. Eight male dancers execute powerful choreography inspired by traditional forms and a variety of all-male partnering, building into a raw explosion of pleasure that is absolutely irresistible. Rizzo’s latest full-evening work is largely inspired by Turkish folk dances he saw in Istanbul in 2004.

Deeply moved by a performance of traditional folk dancing he witnessed in Istanbul in 2004, Rizzo has assembled an astounding ensemble of male dancers, most with Mediterranean roots, to convince viewers of the urgent need to seek out the ‘other’ in a world where individualism often leads to immobility.

“I was overtaken by a deep and almost archaic emotion. Was it their dance, or the void they left after disappearing that overwhelmed me? Though hazy, this sensation has remained anchored in me ever since. The starting point for this new project has been this memory, or more exactly, the quest to find what this memory had left in me…”  -Christian Rizzo

With raw explosion and irresistible pleasure, these eight dancers and two drummers set in motion the rhythms of a ritual underscored by tribal rock music that grabs a visceral hold and transports to ecstasy. They paint an exhilarating portrait of vibrant masculinity marked by virility, fragility and solidarity. Rizzo inflects his precise, angular dance style within the universal gestures of dances that for centuries have brought communities together.

Feet pounding the floor, arms lifted to the heavens, pelvis undulating and bodies whirling, this Heavy Metal dance…really makes an impact, as witnessed by the reactions of young audiences who have been inspired to see dance because of this dynamic stage piece.

This special presentation of d’aprés une histoire vraie (based on a true story) marks the LA debut by Christian Rizzo, who has gained notoriety as contemporary dance’s “l’enfant terrible,” following his career as a rock musician, fashion designer, dancer, and opera and theater director. Amongst his many accolades, he won the coveted National Choreography Award from SACD (Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers of France) in 2013, when he first premiered d’aprés une histoire vraie to great acclaim, and has since gone on to become the head of the prestigious Centre Choréographique National (CNN) of Montpellier, France.

The Beginning of Greatness

Christian Rizzo took his first steps as an artist in Toulouse, where he started a rock band and created a line of clothing before studying visual arts at the Villa Arson in Nice. Serendipitous encounters led him to the stage. In the 1990s, he performed with numerous contemporary choreographers, sometimes responsible for their soundtracks or costume creation, for instance with Mathilde Monnier, Hervé Robbe, Mark Tompkins, Georges Appaix, and then with Vera Mantero, Catherine Contour, Emmanuelle Huynh, and Rachid Ouramdane.

In 1996, he created the “l’association fragile” and presented performances, dance pieces, alternating with other projects or commissions for fashion and visual arts. Since then, over thirty productions have come to fruition. Christian Rizzo regularly teaches in art schools in France and abroad, as well as in institutions dedicated to contemporary dance.

From 2007 to 2012, he had artist in residency atOlpéra de Lille, where he created mon amour and comment dire « ici »? , l’oubli, toucher du bois and le bénéfice du doute. In 2009 Rizzo also directed a play for the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon, ni cap, ni grand canyon, and curated with Bernard Blistène the exhibition, Le sort probable de l’homme qui avait avalé le fantôme, in Paris at the Conciergerie as part of the Nouveau Festival du Centre Pompidou. For more information visit


Yup, you guessed it. It's me Keri Freeman, publisher and concept designer for Downtown Weekly. Living, working and playing in Downtown coming from an entertainment background...I discovered something about myself. I discovered I really liked sharing my knowledge of DTLA and its awesome hospitality movement. Also in doing so I have the great pleasure of working with incredible sponsors (who believe in the vision), extraordinary literary artists, photographers, event coordinators and many talented artists and musicians who inspire me every day to keep the DTLA Weekly going. Also, it would seem I'm the only woman of color to publish a newspaper here in over 100 years, so hopefully that inspires some future generations as well....Just remember if its can't be work....Thank you, people of Gaia, for your continued support and thank you for reading!