Liliana Cattaneo has been going to AA meetings. Not because she's an alcoholic, and not because she's like Ed Norton in Fight Club. She's been going to help a friend-or, at least that's how it started.
"It's refreshing to hear people lay out their failings and be honest about who they are," says Cattaneo, director of dance troupe Xdrop. "So I keep going back."
That honesty and a painful vulnerability is apparent in Xdrop performances. The group hit the local dance scene last year-a mix of modern dance, yoga and athleticism with oversized props and Cattaneo's distinctive brand of edgy, haunting and visceral choreography.
In Dante's Inferno, the "tenth drop" in the descent through the circles of hell is purgatory. There, the souls of the dead must expiate their sins before entry into heaven. Pretty heavy stuff for the name of a dance troupe.
Cattaneo doesn't care if people get the Dantean reference, or whether you call the group "tenth drop" or "xdrop." The meaning is personal to Cattaneo, and has to do with redemption and finding light-common themes in her work.
The three-woman troupe, which includes dancers Michelle Yepiz and Beth O'Reilly, will descend upon the Lyceum Theatre starting Oct. 7 with the premiere of Are We There Yet?
It's a rhetorical question. The show is about learning to be present in the moment, without the distractions of future time, place, jobs or lovers. It's about the choices we make right now. Cattaneo predicts a kind of transcendence we can all relate to: "It'll be a mind fuck," she says.
Pieces in the show will be performed to DJ Shadow, Tool, Labradford and Mogwai-music that the 20-something, tattooed dancer and choreographer grew up with. Props include a 6-foot "hamster wheel," a 3-foot cube with trap doors and multimedia created by the film department at UC Irvine.
"[The show] is metaphorical," she says, "so every person gets something different from it. And I don't really care what they get from it as long as they get something, whether that's enjoying the music and the movement on that surface level, or whether they want to dig deeper and see the metaphors and meaning beneath it."The Lyceum Theatre is located in downtown's Horton Plaza. Performances are Oct. 7-9 at 8 p.m., and Oct. 10 at 2 p.m. (pay-what-you-can) and 6 p.m. Tickets are $15-$20. For more information call 619-544-1000 or check out www.xdrop.org.