Site-specific dance in unusual places: All the world is Heidi Duckler’s stage

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Laundromats.  Office buildings. The Ambassador Hotel.  Heidi Duckler sees all the world as her stage. Choreographing work for a a conventional theater isn’t of interest to her. Inhabiting a space and then creating a piece around it is. She’s the Christo of contemporary dance.

This week, Duckler’s latest debuts at another unlikely spot many Angelenos don’t even know exists: The historic Barlow Respiratory Hospital in Elysian Park (one of those gems of the city, I might add.)  If you took a wrong turn on your way into Dodger Stadium, you might pass the hospital site by and think it was a historic inn.

What it is is a critical-care facility for some of the city’s direst patients; it began as a sanatorium for TB patients over a hundred years ago, a spot chosen for its clean air.  (And naturally, developers have their hopes set on turning the gorgeous property into condos. Lots of condos.)

The Barlow administration loved Duckler’s last work, Cleopatra CEO at the Paul Hastings Tower downtown, that they commissioned her to do one here.  We caught up with her in the last moments of rehearsal to talk about it: