Barak Ballet Messing with NASA’s Mars Rover

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This week’s L.A, dance events include pregnant choreographers in Lincoln Heights, L.A. Contemporary Dance Company in Atwater Village, fierce female deities downtown, dancing for donations in Canoga Park, Lucinda Childs’ retrospective at UCLA, Donna Sternberg in Culver City, and Lightning Shadow strikes in Westwood.
5.  Percolating at Pieter
Pieter is very busy this week with three intriguing shows. Saturday afternoon it’s Turf, with Artbark dancers from Santa Barbara (Mindy Nelson, E. Bonnie Lewis, Ken Gilbert, Misa Kelly, Stephen Kelly), New York (Trina Mannino, Barbara Mahler), and Los Angeles (Nancy Evans Doede). That night, Alexx Shilling and Devika Wickremesinghe curate Hi, SOLO #3, an evening of 3-minute solos from Rayven Armijo/cuerva urban folklorico, Gregory Barnett, Zena Bibler, Heidi Brewer, Katherine Helen Fisher, Keith Johnson, Finn Murphy, Nguyen Nguyen, Arden Plank and Emily Sweeney. On Monday for election eve, Sarah Leddy has gathered Andrea Gise, Rebeca Hernandez, Sarah Leddy, and Deborah Rosen each contributing to Letters to the Future: Dances by Pregnant Choreographers. Pieter, 420 W. Avenue 33, Lincoln Heights; Turf on Sat., Nov. 5, 1 p.m., Hi, Solo #3 on Sat., Nov. 5, 8:30 p.m., Pregnant Choreographers on Mon., Nov. 7, 8:30 p.m.; free with non-monetary contribution to the boutique or bar.

Artbark dancer Nikki Pfeiffer Photo by Kathee Miller
Artbark dancer Nikki Pfeiffer Photo by Kathee Miller

Hi, Solo #3 Photo by Lisa Wahlander
Hi, Solo #3    Photo by Lisa Wahlander

4.  Dancers giving back
From the folks who produce the highly praised Los Angeles Dance Festival, Dance/BACK is a chance for dancers and audiences to give back to the community with nine excellent companies performing and free admission with a donation of non-perishable food or toiletries. The donated items go to the Family Rescue Center which serves families in need, and any cash donations will be divvied up to pay the dancers. Participating companies include Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Luminario Ballet, Akomi Dance, Rubans Rouges Dance, Kairos Dance Company, Ken Morris Project and the host company Brockus Red. Additional community events include an open rehearsal Wednesday and an open ballet class on Friday, both free. Details at Madrid Theater, 21622 Sherman Way, Canoga Park; Fri., Nov. 4, 8 p.m., free with donation.
3.  A Childs’ Portrait
Choice selections from Lucinda Childs’ five decades of choreography and her newest creation are part of Lucinda Childs: A Portrait (1963-2016). Since making her mark in 1963 as part of the postmodern movement centered at New York’s Judson Church, Childs has created more than 50 works for her own troupe and major international companies. The program promises a chance to view several of her most significant dances including her solo performance Pastime (1963), Radical Courses (1976) danced in silence, Concerto (1993) with music by Henryk Gorecki, Lollapalooza (2010) with music by longtime collaborator John Adams, and Canto Ostinato (2015) with music by Simeon ten Holt, and the premiere of Into View, a collaboration with composers/instrumentalists Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld. UCLA Royce Hall, 340 Royce Dr., Westwood; Sat., Nov. 5, 8 p.m., $29-$59, 310-825-2101,

2.  God is she
The Seattle-based Pat Graney Company just won two of NYC’s coveted Bessie Awards for its angry ferocious performance of Girl Gods. The 25 year old company built its reputation employing dance to explore female roles and to improve women’s lives. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., downtown; Thurs.-Sat., Nov. 3-5, 8:30 p.m., Sun., Nov. 6, 3 p.m.. $20-$25, $16-$20 students. 213-237-2800,
Pat Graney Company Photo by ExpressBuzz
Pat Graney Company Photo by ExpressBuzz

1. Running with the Mars Rover
Mars must be trending when Elon Musk holds news conferences about tourist travel to the red planet. Choreographer Melissa Barak and her Barak Ballet are way ahead of him thanks to NASA’s Mars Rover project. Inspired by the dazzling photos the Rover has sent back and the prospect of human inhabitants on the Red Planet, Barak created Eos Chasma set to a pulsing score by Pulitzer prize winning composer Julia Wolfe. Premiered at Virginia’s Richmond Ballet, Eos Chasma‘s local premiere is sponsored by no less than Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the home of the Mars Rover project. A JPL scientist will be part of a post performance discussion and JPL has provided some of those ravishing photos for a lobby display. ARC Pasadena, 1158 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Sat., Nov. 5, 8 p.m., Sun., Nov. 6, 2 p.m., $25.
Other dance of note:
L.A. Contemporary Dance Company Photo by Ruben Contreras
L.A. Contemporary Dance Company Photo by Ruben Contreras

With the exception of NY choreographer Gregory Dolbashian, L.A. Contemporary Dance Company stays true its name in its fall repertoire concert. Under the banner Force Majeure LACDC unveils new works from locally-based choreographers Christian Denice, Micaela Taylor, and LACDC’s current artistic director Genevieve Carson. One of the city’s most respected companies, LACDC’s hallmark is presenting a range of choreographers, not just the artistic director’s work.  After ten years, the founding artistic director stepped aside and this atypical venue selection, known for its plays not dance, may reflect some of Carson’s vision for the company as well as a chance to view her choreography. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., Atwater Village; Thurs.-Sat., Nov. 10-12, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 13, 6 p.m., $25, $20 students.
Nothing like a giant water faucet and a drought to trigger thirsty thoughts and choreographer Donna Sternberg has been thinking about such things. Always exploring the intersection of science and performance, Sternberg’s latest Bodies of Water is set around that oversized water faucet adorning the Helms Bakery Plaza. Donna Sternberg & Dancers perform; Rima Snyder provides the soundscape; and the accompanying Moses Hacmon’s installation includes 4 x 8 foot photographic images of water. Helms Bakery District Plaza, Helms Ave. between Venice and Washington Blvds., Culver City; Sat., Nov. 5, noon & 2 p.m., free.
Inspired by William Faulkner’s writings, the Venice-based troupe Lightning Shadow performs Caddy! Caddy! Caddy! with an installation by artist Hirokazu Kosaka and a sound score from Peter Chavez. Led by Oguri, the performance will move about the museum during the day. Part of the In Real Life: Performance series. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sat.-Sun., Nov. 5-6, 3:30-5 p.m., free.
American Contemporary Ballet Photo by Anastasia Petukhova
American Contemporary Ballet Photo by Anastasia Petukhova

One solo performed by five different dancers. That’s the concept behind Dancing School, American Contemporary Ballet’s preview show featuring a new solo by artistic director Lincoln Jones who will provide analysis and commentary as each dancer takes her turn. ACB Studios, The Block, 700 S. Flower St., 32nd Floor Wed., Nov. 9, $100.

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