March 2020 – Under the 7th Street Bridge , Los Angeles, CA.

Underway was originally meant to be performed for a live audience, but in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak HDD decided to capture this performance through photography and cinematography without an audience. It took the strength of character and determination of our entire team to see this work through amidst the the pandemic. We are extremely proud of the outcome and feel at peace knowing that this work can now live on forever and that our audience will be able to enjoy this virtually. Underway is a production that exemplifies what we do: it is daring, bizarre, beautiful, and boundary pushing. When the Underway films are complete, our ticket buyers will be the first to view them. 

Underway is a dance opera directed and choreographed by Heidi Duckler with music created by four composers – an opera for five voices by Leaha Maria Villarreal, an eclectic mix of woodwinds by William Roper, a sheet metal sound installation by Sarah Belle Reid and flute, bass, and electronics by Justin Scheid. Underway features HDD company dancers Himerria Wortham, Myles Lavallee, Anthea Young, Rafael Quintas, Raymond Ejiofor, Lily Ontiveros, Keva Walker, and Santiago Villarreal. Lighting design by Grant Dunn, costume design by Snezana Petrovic, Video/Projection Design by Brian Aquino, and set design by Alex Ward and Tanya Orellana.

Inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem “Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes,” which creates a space for Eurydice to be imagined as an independent being, Duckler’s unique choreographic style and Villarreal’s experimental choral music take the audience on a transformative journey to the Underworld through Eurydice’s perspective. Hermes guides you into the Underworld, situated in the underbelly of LA’s historic 7th Street Bridge.

Photos by Dietmar Kohl and Rush Varela

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Fundamental, Inc., Linear City, New Music USA, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., and the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at arts.ca.gov. To follow the project as it unfolds, visit our project page: newmusicusa.org/projects/underway/