After Everything Was So Rudely Interrupted

Dancing with umbrellas downtown, contemporary dance in Beverly Hills, modern ballet in Malibu and Costa Mesa, flamenco in Claremont, art installation dance in the Arts District, contemporary moves in a Corona del Mar garden, all live! Plus a dance festival for men, new dance films, dance classes, and more SoCal dance this week.

Live This Week

Delayed celebration

In fall 2019, the contemporary dance company BODYTRAFFIC was announced as the 2019-2010 resident company at the prestigious Wallis Theater, a triumphant coup for the LA-based company and indirectly for the vibrant local dance community seldom given the attention it deserves. The celebration and ambitious plans were interrupted by the onset of the Covid public health emergency and cancellation of live performances with the statewide closure in March 2020. After an 18-month interruption, theaters have reopened and The Wallis is making good on its original plans to showcase the company. Led by artistic director Tina Finkelman Berkett, BODYTRAFFIC brings four works including the company premiere of Recurrence, a duet choreographed by company member Ethan Colagelo. Also on tap, Dust with choreography by Hoffesh Shecter, PACOPEPEPLUTO from choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo, and choreographer Micaela Taylor’s SNAP drawing on music by James Brown. The always top-notch dancers include Paige Borowski, Joseph Davis, Katie Garcia,  Pedro Garcia, Alana Jones, Tiare Keeno, Lindsey Matheis, Tyeri Morrison, Joan Rodriguez, and Guzmàn Rosado. At the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Thurs.-Sat., Oct. 14-16, 7:30 pm, $39-$99. The Wallis.

A man in blue lights lunges toward a group stretching a hand toward him
BODYTRAFFIC. Photo courtesy of the artists.

“X” marks the spot

Based in Philadelphia, the highly acclaimed and always innovative Ballet X makes a rare SoCal visit with performances at two venues. Co-founded by Christine Cox who serves as artistic director and choreographer Matthew Neenan, the 16-year old company has a deserved reputation for its brilliant dancers and for presenting new choreography (its home studios aptly are called Center for World Premiere Choreography). More info, tickets & Covid protocols at the theaters’ website. At Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; Thurs., Oct. 14, 8 p.m., $25-$50. SCFTA.

A male dancer bends backward and a woman leaps in the air
Ballet X. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Amid the flora and fauna 

With a commission from the Sherman Library and Gardens, choreographer Jennifer Backhaus and her Backhausdance have been creating a site-specific work in the lush gardens. The company hosts the final open rehearsals leading up to the outdoor performance. Sherman Library and Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar; Open rehearsals-Thurs., Oct. 14 & Fri., Oct. 15, 10:30 am-1 pm, free. Performances-Sat., Oct. 16, 2 & 5:30 pm, (the free 2 pm show is sold out but accepting names for waiting list), 5:30 pm, $200 with additional pre-show option $50. Info on rehearsals, performance, tickets & Covid protocols at Sherman Library and Gardens.

A male dancer leans forward with a female dancer lying along his back her legs elevated on a nearby wall
Backhausdance. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Movin’ indoors week by week 

The 18th annual REDCAT New Original Works (NOW) Festival brings two more weeks of innovative dance and other performing arts to its stage. In Week 2, a mother, a father and a filmmaker inspired the three works. Choreographer Rosanna Tavarez  drew on scholarly research on the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and her own mother’s immigration experience. Eloquent Peasants’ multi-media work muses on filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. Composer/songwriter Joshua Hill considers his father, singer Greg Hills who was recently diagnosed with dementia. The three artists in Week 3 found their starting points in melodramatic soap operas, hate crime victims, and Black social dance. Choreographer Jobel Medina translates soap operas into physical theater while Jasmine Orpilla focuses on hate crime survivors, and choreographer Amy O’Neal employs house and hip hop culture to explore social concepts of gender. Online viewing is an option for all Saturday shows. Live Week 2: Oct. 14-16, 8:30 pm, Live Week 3: Oct. 21-23, 8:30 pm, $20, $16 students.1 Online stream – Sat., Oct. 16 & 23, 8:30 p.m., $15, $12 students. Details on the artists, scheduled works, tickets, & Covid protocols at REDCAT.

Dancer in white moves around dancer on floor
Rosanna Tavarez. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Flamenco under the stars

A trio of flamenco stars plus a dinner featuring paella are on the menu for Ophelia’s Jump’s Espiritu Flamenco. The highly lauded dancers include Manuel Gutierrez, Vanessa Albalos, and Marcela Aguayo with guitarist Andrés Vadin. Private residence in Claremont, address with reservation; Fri.-Sat., Oct. 15-16, $100 (ticket includes 7 pm paella dinner, 8 pm show.) Details on the artists, tickets, & Covid protocols at Ophelia’s Jump or (909) 734-6565.

A man doing flamenco
Manuel Gutierrez. Photo by Patrick Rogers Juan Ocampo

In the parking lot

In the third public event of her six-week #PieterParkingSpace residency, the self-described posthumous restrospective-artist Stacy Dawson Stearns offers Rock Out with my Cock Out or, Channeling Knives: an Introspective. The event includes performance excerpts from her career including her most recent collaboration with Christine Holt as well as commentary on her use of channeling and trance in her work. Details on the artist, program, tickets, & Covid protocols at Pieter Performance Space. At The Box LA, 822 E 3rd St., Downtown Arts District; Sat., Oct. 16, 8 pm, $10-$25 (but no one turned away) PayPal is

A woman in red crouches
Stacy Dawson Stearns. Photo courtesy of the artist

From the small screen to the onstage screen

Employing shadowy silhouettes behind a screen, the dancers of Catapult promise to tell tales and along the way create real and imagined creatures. After becoming a finalist on tv’s America’s Got Talent, the ensemble launched a multi-state tour with stops at two local venues. Details on tickets, & Covid protocols at the website. At Lancaster Performing Arts Center, 750 W. Lancaster Blvd., Lancaster. Also at Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu; Sat., Oct. 16, 7:30 pm, $22-$50. Pepperdine University.

Dancers in silouette
Catapult. Photo courtesy of the artists

Just humming along

ltural mythology that posit that the hummingbird is a messenger between worlds, choreographer/dancer Olivia Mia Orzco in collaboration with dancer Julienne Mackey offer The Messenger. The dance theater work is presented inside Laurie Shapiro’s art installations at Lacy Studio Lofts, 2684 Lacy St., Lincoln Heights; Sun., Oct. 17, 5 p.m., $50. Eventbrite.

A woman with a fan sits in a colorful art installation
Olivia Mia Orozco. Photo courtesy of the artist

When tech dances

When the science geeks at MIT developed color-shifting LED lit umbrellas, then turned them over to Pilobolus and its crew of gymnastic modern dancemakers, the eventual result was UP! The Umbrella Project. The synergistic science/dance effort is a carefully choreographed event with participants armed with those umbrellas creating colorful patterns that light up the night. Pilobolus and those umbrellas arrive for six performances, two per night on each of three evenings. And the company is recruiting audience members to be participants in the choreography. Each show is limited to 100 participants with the colors, patterns, and shapes projected on screens in the venue’s plaza. Be part of the spectacle or just come watch. Requirements to participate are on the website. At the Music Center, Jerry Moss Plaza, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Thurs.-Sat., Oct. 22-24, 8 & 9:30 pm, $5.  Music Center LA.

Lots of umbrellas lit in different colors
Pilobolus. Photo courtesy of the artists

Post-modern rituals

Continuing its acquisition and exhibition of the work of post modern choreographers, the Getty Research Institute unveiled the first-ever retrospective of the work of choreographer and video artist Blondell Cummings: Dance as Moving Pictures. Known for translating everyday activities into dance movements, Cummings’ work often focused on food, family, major life events, and daily life rituals, especially Black life. Initiated as part of the GRI’s African American Art History Initiative, the exhibit includes videos, interviews, and photographs. On view at Art+Practice, 3401 W. 43rd Pl., Leimert Park; Wed.-Sat., noon-6 pm, to Feb. 19, 2022, free. Research guide at Getty Research Institute, Exhibition at Art+Practice.

A woman in a black dress dances
Photo by Blondell Cummings.

Museum moves

Performance and dance are the metier of several artists in both of the Hammer Museum’s big fall exhibits opening this week. Presented jointly with the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA), Witch Hunt surveys 16 artists focused on feminist, queer, and decolonial approaches to consider current and historical events. Among the artists who are movers look for Okwui Okpokwasili, Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz, and Beverly Semmes. The second opening, No Humans Involved, includes the performance duo Las Nietas de Nono. The exhibit’s title draws on ideas of cultural theorist Sylvia Wynter whose panegyric writings advocated non-Western knowledge and spiritual practices. Exhibit info, tickets and Covid protocols at the website. UCLA Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tues.-Sun., 11 am – 6 pm to Jan. 22, 2022, free no reservation required. Hammer.

Woman in yellow dress sitting with round globe on her head
Hammer Museum’s “No Humans Involved.” Photo courtesy of the artists.

A Peek at Next Week

  • Jacob Jonas The Company at Row DTLA, 777 S. Alameda St., downtown; Fri., Oct. 22-24, 7:30 pm., $35. Details on tickets, meal options, & Covid protocols at The Wallis.
  • MashUp Contemporary Dance Company at Office Space & Coworking, OUTDOOR Meeting Rooms & Events, 3951 Higuera St.; Culver City; Sat., Oct. 23, 8 pm, $25. Eventbrite.
  • Danza Divina de Los Angeles at Día de los Muertos at Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Sat., Oct. 23, 7 pm, free. Grand Park.
  • Ever a Dancer online panel at Musco Center for the Arts; Sun., Oct. 24, 6 p.m., free. Chapman University.


The Fall Galas Begin

LA Dance Project Gala at a Private residence, address with reservation. Sat., Oct. 16, $1,000 single ticket LA Dance Project.

Three backlit dancers
LA Dance Project. Photo by Josh Rose

Invertigo Dance Theater Fall Soirée,  online, Thurs., Oct. 21, 7:30 pm, reservations and donation levels at Invertigo Dance Theater.

Dancers in grey leggings and white shirts jump and pose
Invertigo Dance Theatre. Photo by Joe Lambie

Heidi Duckler Dance Gather Together at Wilfandel Club, 3425 W. Adams Blvd., West Adams; Sat., Oct. 23, 5 pm-9 pm, $250. Bidding For Good.

dancers pose on a fish scupture
Heidi Duckler Dance. Photo by Mae Koo

American Contemporary Ballet Homecoming at Marymount High School, 10643 Sunset Blvd., Bel Air; Sat., Oct. 23, 6 pm – midnight; $250. American Contemporary Ballet.

Ballet dancers in tutus
American Contemporary Ballet. Photo by Will Davidson

Dance films in theaters and online

Broken, more beautiful in repair

As a practical technique, the Japanese mending method kintsugi involves reattaching pieces of broken pottery or porcelain then visibly coating the fracture with gold, often creating a gold veining effect on the repaired exterior. The “golden repair” as kintsugi is often translated, is also an artistic philosophy which the Japan America Cultural and Community Center commissioned five artists to explore in videos. JACC has now posted the results of The Kinsugi Spirit online including choreographer Jennifer Leung Johnson’s film capturing dancers Katy Dahl and Marina Hutchinson artistically finding the beauty in the broken and how to fill the spaces between. Free, online at JACCC.

A women in glasses looks out through gold veining
The Kinsugi Spirit. Photo courtesy of JACCC

Something for the men

SoCal troupes and choreographers are among this year’s participants in in the free, online 2021 Men in Dance FestivalVersa Style Dance Company contributed the video UnMaskulinity. The other SoCal participant, Alfonso Cevera of Primera Generacion Dance Collective, offers a solo work. Free online at Men In Dance Festival.

One dancer squats on one leg while four other dancers are in the air striking street dance poses.
Versa Style Dance Company. Photo courtesy of the artists.

A myth resonates

Drawing a contemporary perspective on ancient Persian mythology, The Scarlet Stone (Moher-ye Sorkh) combines traditional and contemporary Persian dance, music and animation to find parallels between the myth and the 1979 Iranian Revolution along with its aftermath. The 80-minute film in Persian with English subtitles screens starting this week through the month of October. Fri.-Sun., thru Oct. 31, online at TIRGAN.

A woman offers a scarf to a seated man
The Scarlet Stone. Photo by James Carmody

Opera dances

Dancer Lloyd Knight from the Martha Graham Dance Company provides the movement in the LA Opera‘s latest digital short, The First Bluebird in the Morning. Jamar Roberts directed and choreographed to composer Carlos Simon’s setting of verses by Sandra Seaton. Online, free at LA Opera.

A man in red bends backward
Lloyd Knight. Photo courtesy of the artist.

They’re back with more

When theaters shuttered with the pandemic, dance and its audiences went online and began expanding the possibilities of dance on film. LA choreographer Jacob Jonas and his Jacob Jonas/The Company gathered artists from around the world to produce 15 original short dance films under the banner Films.Dance. In January 2021 the films started rolling out over four months, one each Monday, all free. The project earned boasting rights as many of those films went on to win awards at other film festivals. This week begins Films.Dance Round Two, again with dance, dancers, and filmmakers from around the world. The original films, a preview, and e-mail sign up for free weekly film delivery at Films.Dance.

A man stands on his head with the picture upside down
“Films.Dance Round 2.” Photo courtesy of the artists.

L.A. dance gets a little love

The third season of the Music Center’s digital series For the Love of L.A. keeps adding new videos filled with curated dance, music, and visual arts. The season includes South Asian-American dance with Shalini Bathina and 17-year old Shreya Patel, Japanese influenced dance in a film directed and performed by Kyoko Takenaka, contemporary dance set in Leimert Park from Brianna Mims, an excursion between beach and backyard from Maya Alvarez-Coyne, Albertossy Espinoza’s LA Fusion Dance Theater, and more. Online free, at Music Center.

A dancer, Brianna Mims, straddles a tilted table. She wears bright blue high-heeled boots, tight blue jeans and a striking brown and white vest. Her face can't be seen, only the top of her head.
Brianna Mims. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Online Dance Classes

Not quite ready for class in person?

On-line dance classes continue on zoom, instagram, other on-line platforms, and increasingly in person. Many classes free, low cost or suggesting a donation. One central, constantly updated source on dance classes and in-depth reporting on SoCal dance, LA Dance Chronicle lists on-line dance classes including any cost and contact info. Grab a chair or clear off a corner of the room and use this time to dance. LA Dance Chronicle..

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