Tai Chi Meets Hip Hop While Filipino Dance Vogues

A Russian ballet about an obsessive teacher in Costa Mesa, flamenco in Silver Lake and Alhambra, contemporary choreography previewed in Lincoln Heights, an all-male hula company in Whittier, Mexican folkloric dance in Orange, and more SoCal dance this week.

5.  Expanding a folkloric footprint

A weekend of free dance and music highlight the 4th Annual Heartbeat of Mexico Festival. With performances in the University’s theater plus outdoor stages around the campus, this year’s festival has significantly expanded its footprint and offerings. The festival also offers a few ticketed music events. For a complete line up of the roughly one dozen folkloric troupes scheduled to perform, times and location, go to https://muscocenter.org. Musco Center for the Arts, Chapman University, 415 N. Glassell St., Orange; Sat., May 25, noon-6 p.m., Sun., May 26, noon-6 p.m., free. https://muscocenter.org.

4th Annual Heartbeat of Mexico Festival. Photo courtesy of the artists.
4th Annual Heartbeat of Mexico Festival. Photo courtesy of the artists.

4.  Finale in residence

The last of three weekends of studio shows coming out of the Los Angeles Dance Project’s residency program features Curious Minds LA, recent USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance grad Ausytn Rich and collaborators, plus contemporary folk dance from The Earthians. More info at ladanceproject.org. Proceeds from the showcase go to the artists. Los Angeles Dance Project Studio 2245, 2245 E. Washington Blvd., downtown; Sat., May 25, 8 p.m., $10. https://www.artful.ly/store/events/17874.

Austyn Rich. Photo courtesy of USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.
Austyn Rich. Photo courtesy of USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.

3.  Flamenco with staying power

The long-running, mostly monthly Forever Flamenco brings a trio of dancers to its intimate home venue. Reyes BarriosArleen Hurtadoand Briseyda Zarate dance. Juan de Dios sings. Antonio Triana and Ben Woods are the guitarists. Barrios also sings and is the artistic director of this edition. Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Silverlake; Sun., May 26, 8 p.m., $40-$50, $30 students & seniors.  https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pesptpm/10171281/1082695.

Forever Flamenco's Arleen Hurtado. Photo courtesy of Forever Flamenco.
Forever Flamenco’s Arleen Hurtado. Photo courtesy of Forever Flamenco.

2.  When a teacher goes awry

A consummate showman whose ballets invariably seem to involve relationships that turn abusive, Boris Eifman and his eponymous Eifman Ballet arrive with the west coast premiere of The Pygmalion Effect. Drawing on the ancient myth of a sculptor who swoons for his statue of Aphrodite, the choreographer revisits the story that fueled George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion and the musical My Fair Lady. Drawing on music by Johann Strauss Jr., Eifman sets the action in the present as an enamored teacher sets out to reshape his student into a virtuoso performer. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Fri., May 24, 7:30 p.m., Sat., May 25, 2 & 7:30 p.m., Sun., May 26, 1 p.m., $29-$169. https://scfta.org/.

Eifman Ballet's "The Pygmalion Effect". Photo by Michael Khoury.
Eifman Ballet’s “The Pygmalion Effect”. Photo by Michael Khoury.

1.  Viewed from an Asian American Perspective

Straddling the intersection of Asian American Heritage month and LGBT History month, this assemblage of Asian American dancers and performers tackle themes addressing their Asian heritage and their LGBTQIA identity by injecting traditional Asian dance and ritual into contemporary dance styles. Jasmin Lin mixes tai chi with hip hop and Ally Vega infuses Filipino dance with elements of voguing. Saturday includes a free workshop with a Butoh dancer from San Francisco who also performs both nights.  Other performers include Gunita Collective, Min Yoon Paru Frances and Kyoko Takenaka who also directs.  Despite the bland title Asian America: The Future is Now, the show’s elements and the special issues confronted by LGBTQIA in Asian American communities give this show special significance. Part of Highways’ two month long 30th anniversary celebration, a venue known since its beginnings for its commitment to include and showcase LGBT performers and issues. Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., May 24-25, 8:30 p.m., $25, $20 students & seniors. https://highwaysperformance.org/.

The Future Is Now. Photo by Jennelle Fong.
The Future Is Now. Photo by Jennelle Fong.

Other dance of note:

The final works won’t be seen until 2020, but this informal event offers a sneak peak preview of new choreography by Roya Carreras, Alice Klock and WHYTEBERG for L.A. Contemporary Dance Company. Brockus Project Studios, 618B Moulton Ave., Lincoln Heights; Sun., May 26, 7 p.m., $15 suggested donation. https://www.artful.ly/store/events/17666.

Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company. Photo courtesy of LACDC.
Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company. Photo courtesy of LACDC.

It has a somewhat puzzling name, but The Wooden Floor has built a reputation for the high quality of its intermittent dance performances and the positive impact off the stage in the lives of its young dancers. Founded to provide a safe haven and after school activities, dance became an important focus and 36 years later remains so. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine; Thurs.-Fri., May 30-31, 8 p.m., Sat., June 1, 2:30 & 8 p.m., $15-$30, $7.50-$15 students & children under 13 years. http://thebarclay.org/.

Danielle Agami and the dancers of her troupe Ate 9 perform in an intimate setting, the living room at The Ruby Street, 6408 Ruby St., Highland Park; Thurs., May 23 & 30, 8 p.m., $20, $40 only May 30 includes end of season party. https://www.ate9dancecompany.com/.

Ate 9. Photo by Cheryl Mann.
Ate 9. Photo by Cheryl Mann.

Flamenco dancer Inesita celebrates the 10th anniversary of her debut with the Alhambra Performing Arts Center. In addition to performing six solos on her own, Inesita will be joined by Miguel Bernal, Clarita and Ahmae, plus the Arte Flamenco Ensemble and guitarists, Stamen Wetzel and Benjamin. Sage Granada Park United Methodist Church, 1850 W. Hellman Ave., Alhambra; Sat., May 25, 7 p.m., donations accepted during intermission. 626-230-5435, bizwind@yahoo.com.

Excerpts from ballet classics and contemporary works are danced by the students of the Orange County Ballet Theater with guest artists from San Francisco Ballet and Houston Ballet. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine; Fri., May 24, 7:30 p.m. $28-$35. 949-854-4646.  http://thebarclay.org/.

Halau Na Kamalei. Photo courtesy of the artists.
Halau Na Kamalei. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Continuing 25 years of annual visits to this venue, Robert Cazimero and the all-male Hawaiian hula troupe Halau Na Kamalei perform. Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts, 6760 Painter Ave., Whittier; Sat., May 25, 2 & 7:30 p.m., $50. (562) 907-4203. http://shannoncenter.org/.

Synapse. Photo courtesy of the artists.
Synapse. Photo courtesy of the artists.

The Santa Monica College dance company Synapse offers its annual showcase with modern, contemporary, hip hop, fusion and dance theater works by both student and professional choreographers. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Fri., May 24, 7:30 p.m., Sat., May 25, 2 & 7:30 p.m., $20 in advance, $23 at door.  http://www.smc.edu/ACG/Marketing/Events/Pages/Dance.aspx.

Bertha Suarez in Numi Opera's "Der Zwerg (The Dwarf)". Photo by Dave Corwin.
Bertha Suarez in Numi Opera’s “Der Zwerg (The Dwarf)”. Photo by Dave Corwin.

Dancer Bertha Suarez provides the dance component of Numi Opera’s inaugural production Der Zwerg (The Dwarf). Based on Oscar Wilde’s story The Birthday of the Infanta, the choice of this rarely performed opera reflects what the opera company’s founder/artistic director Gail R. Gordon describes as “bringing modern relevance to lesser-known operas of all eras”. Theater at the Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Thurs., May 30, 7:30 p.m., Sun., June 2, 2 p.m., $35-$75. 888-929-7849, https://www.numiopera.org/purchase-tickets.

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