REVIEW BY Kristy Katz    PICTURES by Natalia Britt

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A storm was brewing in southern California this weekend.    Heart of Storm made its U.S. Los Angeles premiere on July 24th and 25th at the Historic Orpheum Theatre with a blast of Symphonic Rock with cyclones of swirling contemporary dancers.   A talented and young choreographer Stas Tsoy, the amazing and explosive style of the Red Rock Ballet company mixed with lineup of rock and roll’s most highly regarded musicians,  this whirlwind mix makes Heart of Storm.

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The event took to social media several weeks ago promoting this avant-garde production of Life, Love and Tragedy.  With support from the Jay Nolan Community Services Agency, a non-profit community services agency, complimentary tickets were offered online for both shows and special VIP packages were offered with a donation to JNCS.  This included a meet and greet after party with the ballet company and the supporting musicians, a Heart of Storm CD, and autographed special event t-shirt.

Heart of Storms live music features Derek Sherinian (Alice Cooper, Billy Idol, Dream Theater) – Musical Director/Keyboards, Tony Franklin (The Firm, Jimmy Page, Paul Rodgers) – Bass Guitar , Gregg Bissonette (Ringo Starr, David Lee Roth) – Drums , Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, DIO, Burning Rain) – Lead Guitar , Brandon Fields (Tower Of Power, George Benson) – Woodwinds , Brent Woods (Warrant, Sebastian Bach)  – Rhythm guitar, and was Produced by Alex Rosenberg.

The audience was variety of a bit of everything. From a heavy metal DJ to local musicians and dancers, of course your classic rock fans, followers and friends and, as I overheard in the lobby: “ we just saw it online and thought it would be a nice event to take the family.”

The show is set in eleven acts and tells the story of Major Storm, a beautiful young girl named Flora and a seductive, evil Diana.

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The show opens as the band takes to their stage, which is set about ten feet above the dancers stage making an impressive visual for the regal rock royalty as they begin the intro to the first act Way to Sea.  Dancers lay on the stage as the music intensifies and anticipation grows.  The music is dark and brooding .   A feeling of sadness and despair grip you as the dancers begin their story of the young Major Storm.

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The meeting of true love is told in Flower Wake up were Flora and Storm have found each other, the ladies flow across the stage in bright blues and whites as the men are mostly in grays and blacks.  This perfect balance of easy and simple works as not to distract the viewer from the flying splits, pirouettes, leaps and whirling movement as the struggle to keep love alive as Summer approaches.

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Doug switches to his white double neck guitar, as Diana calls to her men to follow, her deadly beauty and intoxicating enchantment bring men to their knees including Flora’s one true love Storm.

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Castle is an upbeat movement that introduces Storm to Diana.  In After Rain this jazzy coupling of the Fretless wonder Tony Franklin riffing it up with Gregg Bissonette and Derek Sherinian leads the music towards the sexy raucous act Run where the leather laden Diana sets her sites on Storm.  The deep bass grooves, heavy drums, soaring sax of Brandon Fields take us into Rolling Stone where love begins again but not as pure and true.

The closing four sets brought some of the most stunning combination of visual and aural stimulation.  The marriage during the Wedding Party brought a phenomenal solos by Aldrich as well as a thunderous beat down from Franklin and Bissonette.  The wedding dress of red, black and white slipped over her black leather corset shows us that Diana is eager to consume Storm with her darkness and wicked ways.  The grand wedding is done and the feast begins.

Darkness comes again in July Night as Flora learns of the wedding.  Large draped black fabric give the  illusion of her heightened fear and rising anger, her bent body swaying high above those who reach to stop her from her fate.  Brent and Doug battle through to the stormy Sky which brings rage and violence to Major Storm and the choices he must make.  The last chapter ends with an opening of a melodic acoustic solo by Brent and as the rest of the band joins in, Brandon’s soprano fluting bring the celebration of holidays and the end of this tragic tale at X-mas.  

From the auditory pleasure to the astounding visual choreography and the incredibly talented performers, Heart of Storm is an amazing theatrical rock ballet experience.

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INTERVIEW BY NATALIA BRITT DURING REHEARSALS:

HEART OF STORM website  Facebook and Twitter