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San Diego's John Malashock Looks Ahead After 30 Years Of Dance

Malashock Dance performers in a 2017 show.
Malashock Dance
Malashock Dance performers in a 2017 show.
San Diego's John Malashock Looks Ahead After 30 Years Of Dance
San Diego's John Malashock Looks Ahead After 30 Years Of Dance GUEST: John Malashock, founder, Malashock Dance

>>> It is a milestone. A celebration, and a chance to unveil the new. San Diego choreographer John Miller Shock is celebrating the 30th anniversary of his dad's company with a show called the ride mala shock at 30. Along with one of the choreographers favorite dancers, they will offer two brand-new work for a show that runs this weekend and next at the theater. Joining me is the founder of Mellor Shock. Welcome JOHN. What is the meaning of the ride? Is that a reference to your German -- journey with dance in San Diego? >> It absolutely is. But one of the pieces of music I am using is called ride by Matthew McBain one of the composers I'm working with. I called the piece I am making is a sweet of his music to ride. I decided to use that for the whole show. >>> What has the right been like for you? It has been -- >> It has been quite a roller coaster in the long-distance journey and amazing. When I think of having the ability to have a whole career as an artist, a choreographer. It is an amazing gift. >>> Has the popularity of dance changed in San Diego since you first arrived? >> I think there's a richer dancing here than there was when I started out here. Certainly a lot more activity going on. Is a lot stronger poll of dancers here. It is definitely shifted. I think with the founding of dance place San Diego at liberty Station which is our home, that has given a different kind of focal point to dance. >>> You were a dancer in New York. Rob -- what brought you here originally ? >> I had a lot of years working in Europe and New York. There is a certain point were after being out on the road for six months out of the year, it takes its toll. My wife and I decided to move back here. I grew up in San Diego. I'm not sure if people know that or not. >>> You said basically I am staying here. >> It was a temporary move to San Diego while we regroup to figure out what we were going to do. The dance Company happened, and temporary turned into a lot of years. >>> Your work could be described as modern dance to new music both of which has a tendency of putting people off. How do you describe your work? >> That is a good point. When you think back a little ways, modern dance and new music were dirty words. They suggested something unpleasant and difficult to watch or understand. That is the opposite of what is going on right now. I pick music that is so fresh and appealing and unique. And accessible. My choreography follow suit. I really like to create work that the people can relate to or just thoroughly enjoy. >>> For anyone who would say that this was a intimidating prospect to them, what would you say? >> For this particular show, there is nothing to not like about it. The two new pieces are really an explosion of movement, really rich, complex, the dance company looks great, the one piece that I am restaging, a man found wanting us to a suite of piano music by Leo C on a check. A check composure. This is very beautiful heartfelt pieces of music in plate live. -- Played a lie. It has soulful music to it. It has morning and law send in a most beautiful tender and humorous way. >>> You talk about your performing career. You stopped dancing a few months ago. You feel the pull back to the performance stage ? >> I had a long performing career. I did not stop performing until my late 40s. That is pushing the envelope. When I got to the point to where I felt done with Performing. I had no regrets whatsoever. I get to dance in the studio. I get to dance when they teach, or choreograph. When they get the satisfaction of putting my work on the stage. >>> After is 30 years of seeing mala shack dance survive and thrive in San Diego, what would you like to see San Diego due to show more commitment to the arts? >> I think we need to not have to go to three struggle every single year with the city, the budget, then wanting to cut funding to the arts. It is just what great cities do. They understand that the arts are a huge part of the fabric of the community. And the quality of life. That commitment needs to be made. I think an awareness that the arts, they are not something that people cannot understand or have to be intimidating. Just to experience something new. It is a lot of what makes life interesting. >>> The ride March 17 and 18th and March 23-25 at the Lansing theater. I was speaking with the founder of Mellor Shock dance John Miller Shock. Thank you so much. >> Thank you. I hope people, and take this ride with us.

San Diego choreographer John Malashock did not want a retrospective to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his company, Malashock Dance.

“I tend to be more forward-looking,” he said. “It felt right to be making new work.”

“The Ride: Malashock@30,” playing March 17-18 and 23-25 at the Lyceum Theater, features two new dances: “The Ride,” set to work by composer Matthew McBane and “The Clearing at Dawn,” with music from composer Judd Greenstein. But there is also one returning piece, 2013’s “A Man Found Wanting,” set to music by Leos Janacek.


“I wanted to give a nod to some of my absolute favorite works,” Malashock said. “The piano music is just gorgeous and heartwarming and emotional and dramatic. And the characters are as well.”

Malashock said his style has evolved over the past three decades, and now focuses around music he thinks the audience would enjoy listening to even if it wasn’t part of a dance performance.

“The early work was dark. A lot of intensity. But that’s something that only appeals to certain people,” he said. “It shifted a bit from being more about me and the things I needed to express and evolved into something that’s far more inclusive of the audience.”

Malashock joins KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday with more on his career.