One of those great, only-in-Los Angeles events, Helios Dance Theater presents "Beautiful Monsters." Campus Circle speaks with Laura Gorenstein Miller, the troupe’s founder, choreographer and creative director, about the performance.

Tell me a little about Helios.

I’ve danced my whole life. When I got to CalArts (California Institute of the Arts) I focused on choreography. It’s the main way I express myself. After college I formed Helios.

So you are actually using your college major?

I am proud to say I am. Hopefully, you’re in a major you truly love because that’s the key to success and being happy.

How important were the people you met in college?

I work with a lot of CalArts graduates. I’m still working with people I went to school with. When I first formed the company a lot of my dancers went to CalArts.

What is your inspiration for this piece?

I have had a lifelong fascination for vampires. As a child I was terrified of them but also really drawn to them. I started sleeping with my covers over my neck so vampires couldn’t get to me. I am also interested in vampire wings. I am experimenting in using the body in unusual ways to portray wings. There are a lot of aspects that interested me from a choreographic point of view, for example, what happens to the body after you are bitten.

How does the economy affect dance companies?

The recession is greatly affecting dance. Arts are considered expendable in our culture, and it’s the first thing to go. You have to be extraordinarily resourceful in this economy to work. Getting this production together is kind of miraculous.  

Why is dance important now?

I think the arts are how we express our humanity … the joy of being human.

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