What’s Going on at Malashock Dance?by Emily Gould November 28, 2018
Malashock Dance is a locally owned, award-winning dance studio that has graced the San Diego area with its productions for 30 years. Founded by Artistic Director John Malashock in 1988, Malashock Dance has been committed to creating original, musically varied works that touch audiences by focusing on intimate character relationships. While the studio is fully professional, Malashock’s company functions around three main pillars: the professional dance company which creates and produces its own shows, the Malashock Dance School for kids and teens and youth and community outreach programs. One of Malashock Dance’s most significant partnerships in the way of youth outreach is their Math in Motion program, which helps students conceptualize algebraic and geometric patterns in real life –particularly, dance and the arts.
The company has won six Emmy Awards for its original dance films, and the founder himself won the Bravo Icon Award in 2017. Malashock Dance has also worked in conjunction with UCSD TV to create dance films in various San Diego locations, with KPBS to produce stage shows, as well as with the Jewish Arts Festival to create a number of projects. The studio has many collaborative projects with composers, musical organizations, the opera, the symphony and the Museum of Art as John Malashock enjoys “seeing how dance [and his own choreography] mixes with other art forms, and how they can enhance each other.”
While most might classify the primary genre of Malashock Dance’s productions to be contemporary in nature, Malashock insists that the studio is “not all that genre specific because, at some point, creativity is creativity.” The styles of dance employed vary greatly from project to project, as some are heavily story based, while others are about creating a physical interpretation of the music.
Just like the styles of dance, Malashock also uses a mélange of musical genres: classical, contemporary and pop, to name a few. “The show we just did, [“Eye of the Beholder”], was made up of 14 short pieces; all the music was quite different.” The artistic director also loves to coproduce new works with composers whenever possible in order to come up with something unique but still accessible. Malashock prefers to work with music that is appealing on a large scale, in order to satisfy audiences’ musical cravings rhythmically and harmonically. He also tends to employ live musicians for his performances; for instance, the company is “doing a big project this spring with the Art of Élan featuring a string quartet.”
Malashock’s own 10-year career of performing with various companies in locations all over the world (including Europe, Asia, South America and Mexico), led him to found Malashock Dance and influences his production choices today. “The company sort of grew organically,” Malashock explains. He halted his own performance career because there “was a point where the amount of touring plus having a family became too much,” so the Malashocks moved back to California. But the “need to be back in the studio making work, led to pulling a group of people together to produce, which grew to a new organization and company.”
Malashock choreographs most everything that the company puts on, which is typically one show in the fall, a more “major show” in the spring and a sprinkling of smaller events and collaborations. His studio also hosts a large fundraiser each year, which Malashok describes as being a “fun intersection of dance, art, music, fashion and food.”
The studio’s winter production of “Making Dance: The Future Starts Now” will be exhibited at the San Diego Symphony Festival. It will give the audience a totally unique look on the behind-the-scenes process of creating choreography, as they will get to witness John Malashock himself produce a show from scratch right in front of their eyes. He will generate a production by “developing the partner work” of his dancers to music that is chosen by the festival director, and performed by a live musician. The “beauty is that the people get to see [the production of the show] from the inception.” It’s one night only, but the artistic value will last a lifetime.
“Making Dance: The Future Starts Now” premiers Jan. 19th at Idea 1 in the East Village at The San Diego Symphony Orchestra: Hearing the Future. For tickets and information go to malashockdance.org/events/the-future-is-now/