Anaïs, A Dance Opera , created by composer/lyricist Cindy Shapiro and director/choreographer Janet Roston incorporates music, dance and visual projections into a cutting edge stage production that explores and illuminates the riveting life of famed diarist and literary figure Anaïs Nin and her world of words, sex, passion
Anaïs, A Dance Opera celebrates Nin’s story as one of personal and artistic triumph which continues to influence the world today. Sensuous, probing, compelling and thought provoking, the production is presented with one live female vocalist as Eternal Anaïs supported by six dancers who, with projections, tell the absorbing life story of Anaïs Nin. The dancers bring the controversial author to life in a production that shatters stage conventions in the same way Nin herself violated literary and societal expectations.
Cindy Shapiro’s lyrics and music, with Janet Roston’s intricate choreography and direction, and deeply engaging visual projections by designer Joe LaRue, weave Nin’s story, intertwining excerpts from her diaries and her groundbreaking erotica. The dancers and vocalist unveil the author’s journey of self-discovery which took her from a naïve young housewife into the café society of Paris, where she emerged as an important literary figure during the 1930s, through her life in the United States during and after World War II, to her death and its aftermath in the 1970s. These adventures of self-exploration led the author through numerous simultaneous relationships, bigamy, and grand deceptions which she kept track of using what she called her “Lie Box.” Nin believed in living her life as freely as a man and for that she was chastised after her death. Her legacy is currently being revived, she is revered as a multifaceted, multidimensional woman who created her own heat and became her own sun.
The music and lyrics by Cindy Shapiro, an artist-in-residence at Cité International des Arts and a Tides Grant recipient, blend classical contemporary layering with a rock sensibility. The choreography by Janet Roston, an Ovation Award-winning choreographer, is contemporary with sections inspired by vintage dance. Joe LaRue’s projections amaze and enlighten. The result of their collaboration is sonically compelling, kinetic and full of visual surprises.
Anaïs, A Dance Opera has the support of the Anaïs Nin Trust and Nin’s publisher, Paul Herron. It is designed to tour easily with no sets, limited costumes and props and all music except lead vocal on track. The production premiered at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles, played to sold-out crowds and extended it’s run to accommodate demand. It was produced by Mixed eMotion Theatrix.
“We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
“How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?”
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.”
“I hate men who are afraid of women's strength.”
“Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together.”
“There are two ways to reach me: by way of kisses or by way of the imagination. But there is a hierarchy: the kisses alone don't work.”
"You have a right to experiment with your life.
You will make mistakes. And they are right too."
“I reserve the right to love many different people at once,
and to change my prince often.”
“Age does not protect you from love.
But love, to some extent, protects you from age.”
“I take pleasure in my transformations. I look quiet and consistent, but few know how many women there are in me.”
“I am aware of being in a beautiful prison,
from which I can only escape by writing.”
Cindy Shapiro is a multi-faceted artist with a rich musical history. She was a rock singer in New York City, and has toured the world with Video Games Live, a symphonic show of music from Video Games. She has sung with some of the greatest symphonies in the world, including the LA Phil and the London Philharmonia Orchestra. She toured Japan with the Roger Wagner Chorale, and was a Cantor at Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles. She sings on video game, television and film soundtracks.
Cindy was an artist-in-residence at Cité Internationale des Arts where she composed an opera based on the Psyche myth. She is a recipient of a $25,000 art grant from the Tides Foundation for her Psyche opera.
Cindy spent many years as a game developer, specializing in interactive fiction and human behavior modeling. She has also been a software engineer and music teacher.
Janet Roston is a Director/Choreographer whose most recent credits include Midsummer Night for the Tennessee Shakespeare Company, and Striking 12 at the Laguna Playhouse. Janet created choreography for Psyche, A Modern Rock Opera, (Greenway Court Theater) and Failure, A Love Story (Coeurage Theater) nominated for an Ovation Award, Best Production. Other Directing/Choreography work includes Tonya and Nancy, The Rock Opera (ART Boston), CarnEvil (Sacred Fools Theater) and Walk’n Thru the Fire (Hayworth Theater). With The Los Angeles Rock Opera Company she has Dir/Choreo shAme, (King King Nightclub) and The Wanting (Highways). Janet created choreography for The Color Purple, (Celebration Theatre) for which she received the Ovation Award, NAACP Award, and an LADCC Nomination. Other work includes Justin Love, (Celebration Theatre, LADCC Award); Once On this Island, (International City Theater, NAACP Nomination); Avenue X, (Odyssey Theater, Ovation Award Nomination). Janet has received two American Choreography Awards and is a proud alumni of the Directors Lab.
Joe is a stage/film director, video editor, photographer, graphic designer, and projection designer. His short films Adobo, Loaded, and Thanksgiving have screened at festivals including the Boulder International Film Festival, D.C. Asian Pacific American Film Festival, Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and the Long Island Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. he is the editor of the Nigerian romantic comedy feature film When Love Happens, which was one of Nigeria's top grossing films of 2014. He has also edited festival favorite shorts Just Like the Movies (Indie Spirit Film Festival, Las Vegas Intl. Film Festival) and Miss Miao (Dances With Films Festival, Austin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Film Festival). Projection design credits include Striking 12 (Laguna Playhouse), four consecutive years of The 24hr Plays, Tonya & Nancy (Club Oberon, Boston), Serpentine Pink (Son of Semele), and CarnEvil (Sacred Fools).
Ryan has worked as a Producer -Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera in Concert (King King), The Next Fairy Tale (Celebration Theatre), BASH’d: A Gay Rap Opera (Celebration Theatre, Ovation Nominee), Midsummer Night (Lillian Theater). He is also a Director - Niagara Falls (Theater of Note), revolver (Celebration Theatre), The Real Housekeepers of Studio City (LA Fringe, Best of Fringe Winner); As an Assistant Director he has been involved with the following productions: Wolves (Celebration Theatre), Justin Love (Celebration Theatre, Ovation Nominee, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle winner Best Production), Midsummer Night (Los Angeles Rock Opera Co), The Color Purple (Celebration Theatre, Ovation Award, LADCC, LA Weekly winner Best Musical), Booty Candy (Celebration Theatre, LADCC Nomination), Dream Boy (Celebration Theatre). Ryan has dedicated over a decade of his life to furthering the appreciation of theater in Los Angeles.
Allison Dillard has an MFA in Costume Design and Technology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and works as a freelance designer and technician in and around Los Angeles. Recent local design work includes: Shine Darkly, Illyria (Fugitive Kind), Spies Are Forever (Tin Can Bros.), Dream Boy, BootyCandy (Celebration Theatre), A Singular They (The Blank Theatre), Failure: A Love Story (Coeurage Theatre), Urinetown, The Lion King Jr. (Milken Community Schools), The Discord Altar (OperaWorks), Sons of the Prophet (Blank Theatre), James and the Giant Peach (Mirman School), The Arsonists (West-ern Stage). Her work can be seen at allisondillard.com.
(Assistant Stage Manager)
Center Theatre Group: Disgraced, Endgame, Women Laughing Along With Salad, Kansas City Choir Boy, Girlfriend, Chavez Ravine, Luna Gale, Race, different words for the same thing, The Nether, The Convert, Second City’s A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens, Venice, Burn This, The Night Watcher, Waiting for Godot. Dodger Theatricals: Duck Commander Musical at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas; Cabrillo Music Theatre: Bye Bye Birdie, In The Heights, Kiss Me Kate; Moonlight Stage Productions: The Wizard of Oz, The Most Happy Fella, Cats, The Foreigner, Swingtime Canteen. Geffen Playhouse: Shipwrecked!, Time Stands Still, Through The Night and Love, Loss and What I Wore. She was also on the Stage Management team at Universal Studios Hollywood. Love to my family and Cullen!
(Sound Designer/Album Engineer/Album Co-Producer)
Jack Wall’s distinguished musical career includes composing for film, television, video games and concerts as well as his early years producing and engineering albums for re¬cording artists. Renowned for his rich, cinematic scores for popular franchises such as Call of Duty, Mass Effect, Myst, Splinter Cell and Jade Empire, Wall’s repertoire spans a diverse range of musical styles and influences, while working with the world’s top orchestras and musicians.
Kyle Cooper is a director, writer, and producer working in Los Angeles. His directing credits include Waiting for Godot at the Road Theatre, Blasted at the Secret Rose, and Sh*tty Awful Everything for the Hollywood Fringe. As a writer, his feature film The Late Bloomer starring JK Simmons and Brittany Snow opens in theatres and VOD this October. He is a graduate candidate at Cal State University Fullerton.
Sarah Mullis is an actor, singer, dancer, and comedy writer that just relocated to LA after 3 years in New York. She attended the Boston Conservatory for musical theater and is happy to wear a different hat for Anaïs, A Dance Opera! Getting to know the cast and crew has been an absolute pleasure, and she’s so excited for an audience to experience it! Make sure to check out the Anaïs, A Dance Opera website and social platforms @anaisdanceopera and check out Sarah’s website www.sarahmullis.com
(Eternal Anaïs, Vocalist)
Marisa is a graduate from The American Conservatory Theatre. She is currently playing Anna in the all-new musical spectacular, Frozen: Live at the Hyperion, at Disney California Adventure. Favorite credits include: Polly Peachum (The Three Penny Opera), The Little Match Girl (Striking 12), and Cecily Cardew (The Importance of Being Earnest). Marisa is honored to be working again with this creative team. Endless love to my family. marisamatthews.com
is a graduate of UCLA's school of Theater, Film and Television and he is a former member of Datugan Dance Theatre. His most recent performance credits: Cleansed (Freud Playhouse), Portrait (LATC), Lorca (UnKnown theater), Sweet Sisters (Highways), The Wanting (Highways) and The One Hundreds with the Twyla Tharp dance company.
born and raised in Tampa, FL. Graduated from Elon University, BFA in Dance Performance & Choreography, minor in Communications. Danced for companies including The Union Project Dance Company (TUP), TERRANOVA Dance Theatre, performed works by Larry Keigwin, Jon Lehrer and Ricky Lam. Recent: Celebrity Cruises Production Dancer/Singer, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Festival with TUP, World Premiere of Jane Austin’s Pride & Prejudice: A Musical (Ensemble) at La Mirada. @mathewdomenic
(Anais - Dancer)
was born and raised Gallup, New Mexico. Growing up, she trained in several genres of dance and drama. After completing high school she attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles. At 21, she's signed with Go 2 Talent Agency. and working as a commercial and company (live performance) dancer. Micaela is currently dancing with LA Companies: Keshet Chaim Ensemble, The Union Project, Brockes Red, and Karmagraphy.
is a multi-faceted entertainer, working with the likes of Britney Spears, Beyonce, Macy Gray, to performing on the Billboard Awards 4 times, to photographing for Macy's, Target, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Guess, to name a few. He's currently finishing a degree in Neuroscience where he will research the connection between movement and intelligence. For more information, visit DValentineOnline.com
(Anaïs - Dancer, Ensemble)
Tiffany attended AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts, NYC and LA. She received her B.F.A. in Theatre and continued her study of Dance. Tiffany has worked Theatrically in a number of productions including, Prometheus Bound, This Is Our Youth, and Gilded Lilies and in the Feature Film, Escape Artist. Tiffany is a member of Road Theatre Company in North Hollywood. www.tiffanywolff.com
(Eternal Anaïs, Vocalist)
Madison Dewberry is thrilled to be a part of a piece that celebrates the strength of women. She’d like to thank the strongest woman she knows, her mother, for supporting her through every moment. Madison is cur¬rently hard at work on her first album, due out next Spring. She hopes to bring light to the spirit of Anaïs Nin and that you enjoy the message.
A Texas native, moved to LA for acting, but was introduced to dance by Janet Roston while attending college. Was awarded a scholarship to continue formal dance training with The Lula Washington Dance Theatre in ballet, jazz, African and modern. Also studied at Dance Theatre of Harlem. Du’Ron has been a cast member for 3D Theatricals Tarzan (The stage musical). Du’Ron has been a company member for Maura Townsend’s Project 21 and The Los Angeles Rock Opera.
a native of Los Angeles, Denise has extensively studied ballet, contemporary, musical theater and various forms of dance for over 25 years. Her training began at California Dance Theatre and later went on to receive her B.A. in Communications/Dance from Cal State University of Long Beach. Denise has cultivated other loves in her life; that of Yoga, Surfing and serving as a Birth Doula. She finds that all aspects of her career overlap, each a path, to cultivate a deeper connection to mind, body and soul.
is a performer, choreographer, and Pilates instructor. She received her BFA in Dance from the University of Texas at Austin and is currently signed with both Go 2 Talent Agency and RPM Talent Agency; and she has several television, stage, and film credits. This is Jackie’s fourth year dancing with Janet Roston.
Quinn C. Jaxon
Quinn is a professionally trained dancer, specializing in Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Modern, Lyrical, Partnering and Acro. Quinn has performed with: Silverlake Contemporary Ballet; The Inland Dance Theatre; the Pacific Ballet Dance Company; Los Angeles Ballet; and with the LA Dance Company. Quinn has also performed in numerous music videos and network ads. Quinn has also danced at a variety of venues in Las Vegas for ePlus Productions. He is a graduate of The Edge Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles.
Greenway Court Theatre
Aug 27 - Sept 24
Miles Playhouse, Santa Monica
Los Angeles Dance Festival. Los Angeles
Pasadena Dance Festival, Pasadena
Awakenings and Beginnings, Los Angeles
"While words form the backbone or basic structure for the piece, "Anaïs: A Dance Opera" is at its heart a work of dancing and dancers, executed with great care and respect for its subject. There are no show-off high notes for the singer, and no high-kicking finales for the dancers. Instead we, as audience, are given the deeper role of experiencing an emotional extrapolation on the subject of one author's life."
- James H. Carlin, Santa Monica Observed (full review)
“Elegant and unique”
“Employing edgy music and thoughtful compositions, complemented by Roston’s dreamy, lyrical and passionate choreography, Shapiro acknowledges Nin as an important literary figure.”
- Pauline Adamek, artsbeatla.com (full review)
“Sensuous, compelling and thought provoking”
- Christine Gallagher, Huffington Post (full review)
"The music to Anais, A Dance Opera is simply stunning and complex. It matches the intricacy and multi-dimensional layering of Anais Nin’s inner and outer life."
- writer Sheryl Aaronson (full review)
“Roston and Shapiro’s hybrid theatrical is a smashing show for the ensemble and the stars. ..Shapiro’s very good music, in a variety of styles, is a set of nine pieces that tell Nin’s story chronologically, along with digressions into the “interior cities.” Roston’s choreography is a thrilling interplay of principals and ensemble”
RECOMMENDED - Stage Raw (full review)
"Putting a whole life onstage is a nearly impossible challenge: There’s so much to tell, and so little time. Anaïs takes us into an incredibly complex life, and does it more effectively — and poetically — than any theatrical biography I can recall."
- theatreghost.com (full review)
"Wow-wow-wow! Totally Amazing."
“The choreography by Janet Roston was both brilliant and daring.”
- Suzanne Birrell, Discover Hollywood (full review)
"...seamless marriage of all the elements presented: the lyrics, visuals, choreography, performances and music... a wonderful tribute."
- Jeff Slayton, SeeDance.com (full review)
"What a terrific production! Choreography and music are brilliantly paired. The ensemble is excellent and the costumes are most impressive. Marisa Matthews (Eternal Anaïs, Vocalist) is exceptional! It's worth the price of admission to hear her. It is one of our FEATURED events. GO!"
- Performing Arts Live (full review)
Huffington Post (full review)
LA Weekly (full review)
Santa Monica Observer (full review)
Hollywood 360 (full review)
LISTINGS & ARTICLES:
Do LA - "Janet Roston and Cindy Shapiro present Anaïs, a Dance Opera"
Janet Roston, Director/Choreographer, Cindy Shapiro Composer/Lyricist of Anaïs, A Dance Opera offer workshops in dance, theatrical movement, choreography, vocal training, music composition, collaborative creation and research techniques. Workshops tailored to all levels and ages. Many of these workshops can be open for large group community events.
DANCE TECHNIQUE, DANCE REPERTORY, STORYTELLING THROUGH MOVEMENT
Contemporary dance for all levels
Repertory from “Anaïs, A Dance Opera”
Repertory could include: “Little Innocent Girl,” “Dream/Guernica,” “Train,” “To the Edge”
Basics of Dance Composition
Master class or extended residencies in elements of movement and choreography.
Movement composition derived from classic literature
Use of characters, plot, tone, setting and storyline to create movement studies.
Choreography from personal experience
Use of journals, dreams, blogs as a jumping off point to create compelling dance
Creating movement studies from the Cafe Culture of Paris, Artists
Using artists of the time and the art movement they represent; cubism, surrealism etc (Pablo Picasso, Salvadore Dali, Chagall) as inspiration for dance and theatrical movement studies.
Creating movement studies from the Cafe Culture of Paris, Literature
Using writers of the time (Ernest Hemmingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry Miller, Gertrude Stein) as a basis for movement studies. Using themes, vocabulary and visualization as well as specific scenes from literature for the development of movement studies.
MUSIC COMPOSITION AND VOCAL TECHNIQUE
All levels — basic vocal technique, including pitch issues, vocal placement, smoothing out vocal registers, larynx control, and breathing
Starting with a premise and working our way through the composition of the song.
Musical discussion of pieces from the opera, lead sheets provided for the class for discussion purposes — “Cold Cold Night”, “Hugh”, “Delta of Venus”, “You See Me”, “Lie Box” Discussions of harmonic theory and rhythm theory around some of the more complex songs in the show.
NIN’S ROLE, COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS, RESEARCH TECHNIQUES
The history of Anaïs Nin — more in-depth than the show can go
An in-depth look at her life and work
Collaboration in Creating Work
The art of working with other artists
Preparing the bed of the narrative through careful research
Janet Roston, Educator, Dance and Movement for Theater
A master dance educator, for many years Janet was the Artistic Director of Beverly Hills High School’s acclaimed Dance Company whose members have gone on to form their own successful dance companies and become professional dancers, actors, musicians, graphic designers etc. She has taught dance and movement for actors internationally in London at Millennium Performing Arts Academy, London Studio Centre and Arts Educational as well as teaching in Toulouse and Cannes. National master dance/movement classes includes UCLA, Cal State Long Beach, CAHPERD, Atlanta’s Pebblebrook Arts Academy and Boston Conservatory. Janet has a BA and MA in Dance from UCLA and a California teaching credential in Physical Education, Dance, English and Elementary Education.
Cindy Shapiro, Educator, Music and Vocal Technique
Cindy’s journey to composing “Anaïs” has been varied. As such she her teaching background is diverse yet interrelated. As a music instructor she has taught music theory, vocal technique, music appreciation, songwriting and conducting. Currently she is a private vocal coach working with rank beginners with pitch issues to professionals who want to elevate their craft. She has been a video game coder applying this background to teach technology to students, including logic, set theory, coding and gaming applications. Cindy has a degree from Antioch University with a focus in Music Composition and a Kodaly Music Pedagogy Certification from Cal. State Univ. Long Beach.