Barlow Respiratory Hospital has hired a long list of consultants, planners and real estate brokers as it seeks to transform its leafy grounds on the eastern edge of Echo Park into a major housing development and new hospital. Now, the 110-year-old institution has apparently turned to a different set of professionals to build support: dancers. The hospital, which wants to sell most of its property to finance a new hospital on a corner of the grounds, has hired the Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre to perform an “artistic journey” at the hospital next month titled “Catch Your Breath.”
The show, which will run from Oct. 11 to Oct. 14, is inspired by the stories of Barlow patients and will “highlight the hospital’s past, while celebrating its future through captivating live performance.”
The performance will take place as Barlow employees and other supporters have been raising awareness of the hospital as they try to get the 25-acre property located next to Elysian Park and Dodger Stadium rezoned to accommodate more than 800 units of housing. As part of the effort, Barlow is seeking to sell most of its property and use the proceeds to build a new hospital on the corner of the grounds. Opponents* have said the proposal is way too big, but the hospital does not start construction by early next year, it could be forced to close.
A press release issued by the Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre describes Catch Your Breath this way:
Drawing upon Barlow’s focus on “the whole person, not just the illness,” HDDT will place the physical body at the core of the piece, with revitalizing choreography that will highlight the beauty and significance of the hospital grounds and allow the audience to see the beacon of hope the enhanced Barlow Respiratory Hospital provides for its patients, families, and the community.
If “Catch Your Breath” proves to be popular, perhaps other developers will turn to dancers for help.
* The Eastsider is a member of the Echo Park Historical Society, which is opposed to the current Barlow proposal.