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Russians Dodging An Identity Crisis

Halloween themed dance downtown and in Hollywood, classical dance from India in East LA, intimacy explored in Torrance, anniversary concerts in Pasadena and Hollywood, classical Russian ballet in Costa Mesa before heading to LA, and more SoCal dance this busy week.

5.  Who is that mystery lady?

Andrew Pearson’s solo from last year’s Dearly Beloved, takes on new life as his troupe Bodies in Play perform The Ballad of Lady M. The video teaser at the company’s website includes projected “M” words like “murder” and “MacBeth.” Perhaps clues to the Lady’s identity? More evidence may be present at the 5:30 p.m. pre-show cocktail hour and the post-performance reception included in the ticket price. Details at https://www.bodiesinplay.com. The Ruby Street, 6408 Ruby St., Highland Park; Thurs.-Sat., Oct. 24-26, 7:30 p.m., $45, $25 artists & students. https://www.artful.ly/bodiesinplay/store/events/18762

Bodies in Play's Andrew Pearson. Photo by Casey Kringle.

Bodies in Play’s Andrew Pearson. Photo by Casey Kringle.

4. To keep tradition alive

Established in 1990 to preserve India’s 2000 year old classical dance traditions, Nrityagram Dance Ensemble was named among the New York Times’ Best Dance two years running. This performance welcomes guest dancers from Sri Lanka’s Chitrasena Dance Company for a new work Ahuti. Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Cal State LA, 5151 State University Drive, L.A. Sat., Oct. 19, 8 p.m. $30-$50. 323-343-6600, https://www.luckmanarts.org

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble. Photo courtesy of the artists.

3.  Thanks for the memories

For four decades, choreographer Louise Reichlin has been a force on the SoCal dance scene maintaining not one, but two modern dance companies (Louise Reichlin & Dancers and Los Angeles Choreographers & Dancers), instigating a comprehensive listing of SoCal dance companies, developing the dance component of an annual San Pedro arts festival, and in between developing special projects like Tap Dance Widows. Gleaning from forty years of choreography requires not one, but two shows to celebrate. The 2 p.m. show is devoted to The Patchwork Girl of Oz, Reichlin’s popular take on a Frank Baum Oz book that did not involve Dorothy and Toto. The 4 p.m. shows include Tennis Dances, the work that marked Reichlin’s arrival on the local dance scene, plus the more recent A Jewish Child’s Story. Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, Barnsdall Art Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat.-Sun., Oct. 19-20, 2 & 4 p.m. $20- $40. 800- 838- 3006. https://www.brownpapertickets.com

Louise Reichlin's "Jewish Child's Story." Photo by George Simian.

Louise Reichlin’s “Jewish Child’s Story.” Photo by George Simian.

2. One way to solve retirement

If Wendy Whelan thought she might not have anything to do when she retired after 30 years as a New York City Ballet principal dancer, life has left her little time to wonder. Appointed as co-artistic director in the wake of leadership turmoil at NYCB, she also accepted the invitation to join three other heavy weight artists—cellist Maya Beiser, choreographer Lucinda Childs and composer David Lang—in a dance/music event, The Day. Danced by Whelan with Beiser performing live, after its summer premiere, the New York reviews described it as “artful and elegant.” UCLA Royce Hall, 10745 Dickson Court, Westwood. Fri.-Sat., Oct. 18-19, 8 p.m. $28-$99. 310-825-2101. https://www.cap.ucla.edu

Wendy Whelan in "The Day." Photo courtesy of the artist.

Wendy Whelan in “The Day.” Photo courtesy of the artist.

1.  A rose by any other name…

Now named for its famous home theater, Mariinsky Ballet and the Bolshoi are Russia’s two major ballet companies.  Reflecting Soviet ambitions, the Moscow-based Bolshoi’s name means big and it is grandiose and boisterous. In contrast, the Mariinsky, based in St. Petersburg, dates back to when it was the Tsars’ personal ballet company and in different political climes underwent name changes from St. Petersburg Ballet to Leningrad Ballet and now Mariinsky. Rising above any identity crisis, the company has maintained its reputation as the repository of classical Russian ballet, though in recent decades it also has incorporated western choreography particularly George Balanchine.  The Mariinsky brings both during a two-week visit.  For Orange County, temple dancers, rajahs and palace intrigue provide the setting for Marius Petipa’s classic full-length story ballet La Bayadere (the Temple Dancer). The company moves to L.A. for the George Balanchine’s only three act abstract ballet, the masterwork Jewels. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Fri.-Sat., Oct. 18-19, 7:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun., Oct. 19-20, 1 p.m., $39-$199. https://www.scfta.org. Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Thurs.-Sat., Oct. 24-26, 7:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun., Oct. 26-27, 2 p.m., $34-$138. https://www.musiccenter.org

Mariinsky Ballet in "La Bayadere." Photo by Natasha Razina.

Mariinsky Ballet in “La Bayadere.” Photo by Natasha Razina.

          Other dance of note:

In its newest endeavor, LA Dance Project hosts LA Dances, promising an intermittent festival spread over six weeks with ten LA premieres and six world premieres, divided into three programs labeled A, B & C. Each installment has works from four or five choreographers, most from New York, a few based here, plus a revival of a work by the late Bella Lewitzky. The opening Program A (Oct. 20 & Oct. 24-25) includes dances from two former New York City Ballet now LADP dancers Janie Taylor and Gianna Reisen, plus contributions from Emily Mast & Zack Winokur, and NY-based Kyle Abraham who is currently a UCLA artist in residence. Program B (16-18 & 25) brings Lewitzky’s Kinaesonata, and works from Charm La’Donna, Shannon Gillen, and Mast & Winokur. Program C (Nov. 14-17 & 21-24) presents two dances from LA Dance Project director Benjamin Millepied, Lewitzky’s Kinaesonata, plus dancemakers Tino Sehgal and Madeline Hollander. On Sat., Oct. 19, the LADP moves to Hauser & Wirth for the LADP Gala. Gala details at http://ladanceproject.org/2019gala. LA Dances: LA Dance Project, 2245 E. Washington Blvd., downtown; Program B: Wed.-Fri., Oct. 16-18, 8 p.m., Program A: Sun., Oct. 20, 8 p.m., complete schedule at website. $45. http://ladanceproject.org/19-20-season

LA Dance Project: LA Dances. Photo by Josh Rose.

LA Dance Project: LA Dances. Photo by Josh Rose.

Artistic director/choreographer Lincoln Jones’ take on Dante’s Inferno and the world of Burlesque both premiered in 2018. The double bill returns as American Contemporary Ballet opens its season at a new, temporary space. Ticket price includes a post performance reception with the dancers. Whether a caution or enticement, the company notes that there is nudity. On Halloween, the show is followed by ACB’s annual benefit party with food, cocktails, live music and a performance by burlesque artist Dita von Teese. ACB, The Metropolis, 877 S. Francisco St., Suite C-6, downtown; Fri.-Sat., Oct. 18-19, 8 p.m., Fri., Oct. 26, 8 p.m., Sat., Oct. 27, 7:30 & 10 p.m., Tues.-Wed., Oct. 29-30, 8 p.m., Thurs. Oct., 31, 7:30 p.m., Fri-Sat., Nov. 1-2, 7:30 p.m., $45-$500. https://www.acbdances.com

American Contemporary Ballet. Photo by Jared Zagha.

American Contemporary Ballet. Photo by Jared Zagha.

They have been productive, but the dance/performance duo casebolt and smith have not gone the full-length route since their highly praised O(h) in 2012. The duo return to the full-length format with their newest close. Their focus is on intimacy—platonic, artistic, and more, with dance and film incorporated into the work. El Camino College Center for the Arts, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance; Sat., Oct 19, 8 p.m., $10 & $22.  https://elcaminotickets.universitytickets.com/w/event.aspx?id=1942

casebolt and smith. Photo by Jimmy Lai.

casebolt and smith. Photo by Jimmy Lai.

In the program Works 2019—10 Years and Counting! Nancy Evans Dance Theatre marks the troupe’s 10th anniversary by dancing! ARC (A Room to Create), 1158 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Sat., Oct 19, 8 p.m., Sun., Oct. 20, 4 p.m. $20-$25. 323-363-0830. https://www.nancyevansdancetheatre.com. 

Nancy Evans Dance Theatre. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Nancy Evans Dance Theatre. Photo courtesy of the artists.

The dancers of Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company join celebrated singer Lila Downs for Dia De Muertos: Al Chile. The performers get help from the Mariachi Femenil Flores Mexicana and LORE Media & Arts. Ford Theatres, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood; Sat.-Sun., Oct. 19-20, 8 p.m., $35-$70. https://www.FordTheatres.org

Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company. Photo by Gennia Cui.

Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company. Photo by Gennia Cui.

The relationship between the everyday and the poetic is explored with elements of theater, dance and performance in Galiana & Nikolchev’s Insula. Gabriel Jimenez performs and Gema Galiana directs. Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice’ Fri.-Sat., Oct. 18-19, 8 p.m., Sun., Oct. 20, 7 p.m., $25.   https://www.eventbrite.com/e/insula-tickets-72307841701

Insula. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Insula. Photo courtesy of the artists.

This concert opens with 19 student dancers followed by the pros as Angelita Concierto Flamenco Dance Company takes the stage. Curtis Theatre, 1 Civic Center Circle, Brea; Sat., Oct. 19, 2 p.m., $28. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/angelita-concierto-flamenco-2019-tickets-67850601977

Angelita Concierto Flamenco Dance Company. Photo by Barnet Photography.

Angelita Concierto Flamenco Dance Company. Photo by Barnet Photography.

Known for its founder/artistic director Moses Pendleton’s mixing of modern dance, gymnastics, theatrical effects and humor, MOMIX returns with Viva MOMIX. Pepperdine University Smothers Theater, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; Wed., Oct. 23, 8 p.m., $25-$50. https://arts.pepperdine.edu/

Momix in "Viva MOMIX." Photo courtesy of the artists.

Momix in “Viva MOMIX.” Photo courtesy of the artists.

These performances mark the return of I love you so much, SQUEEZE ME TO DEATH, an exploration of how loving someone else can cause the loss of oneself. Conceived and choreographed by Koryn Ann Wicks, this is an immersive dance performance with audience members able to choose their own path through a landscape of live performers, interactive video and sound installations. Comfortable shoes are suggested. Limited seating will be available for those in need (notify the house on arrival). Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Dr., Echo Park; Fri.-Sun., Oct. 18-20, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Oct. 19, 2 p.m., $25. https://www.bootlegtheater.org/calendar

Koryn Ann Wicks. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Koryn Ann Wicks. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Bringing interactive dance performances throughout SoCal, Benita Bike Danceart stops off in the San Fernando Valley. LA Mission College, 13356 Eldridge Ave., Sylmar; Thurs., Oct. 24, 7 p.m., free. https://www.danceart.org/

Benita Bike DanceArt. Photo by Dean Wallraff.

Benita Bike DanceArt. Photo by Dean Wallraff.

The themed musical events by MUSE-IQUE almost always include some dance performance as well as a title in all-caps. For STEP/LIVELY, the theme is shoes and Pasadena-based tapper Keith “Happyfeet” Prater provides dance in tap shoes. In addition to shoe-referenced music and song, the pre-concert mingling starts at 5:30 p.m. with the audience invited to share their favorite shoe story and encouraged to bring a pair of shoes to donate to the non-profit Soles4Souls. Athletic Garage Dance Center, 121 Waverly Dr., Pasadena; Sun., Oct. 20, 7 p.m., for tickets, please call 626-539-7085  http://muse-ique.com/

Keith "Happyfeet" Prater. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Keith “Happyfeet” Prater. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The Fall for All! Festival goes all day, but the afternoon performance portion boasts dance from Green Room Studios, Las Estrellas Ballet Folkorico and Line Dancing with Dev Edwards. Full details at https://www.scfta.org/events/2019/fall-for-all!-free. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Sat., Oct. 19, noon, free. https://www.scfta.org/events/2019/fall-for-all!-free

Lula Washington Dance Theatre. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Lula Washington Dance Theatre. Photo courtesy of the artists.

As part of the Taste of Soul Festival, Lula Washington Dance Theatre offers Dance All Day with a line-up of L.A.-based dance makers during the festival. Lula Washington Dance Theatre, 3773 Crenshaw Blvd., Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw; https://www.lulawashington.org. Main festival at Crenshaw Blvd. between Stocker & Obama, Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw. Sat., Oct. 19, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., free. https://tasteofsoul.org/

Merce Cunningham. Photo by Jack Mitchell courtesy of Getty Images.

Merce Cunningham. Photo by Jack Mitchell courtesy of Getty Images.

The respected Dance Camera West has its main festival in January, but brings a special program, Merce Cunningham Centennial Screening Series, showcasing the modern dance legend’s ventures into film and video. The screenings have multiple co-sponsors including CalArts, UCLA and USC and Grand Arts All Access at MOCA where the films screen for free with reservation. MOCA, 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Thurs., Oct. 24, 1:30 p.m., Sat., Nov. 2, 11 a.m., Sun., Nov. 3, 4 p.m., Tues., Nov. 5, 4 p.m., free with reservation. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dance-camera-west-presents-merce-cunningham-centennial-film-series-tickets-76825901339

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