Beauty and the Beast in Any Language

A trio of contemporary troupes at Disney Hall, architectural dance in East L.A., DJ’d ballet in Carson, story-telling dance downtown, incubated dance in Irvine, Greek protest in West L.A., and more SoCal dance this week.

5.  Turntable ballet

DJ Quetzal Star weaves together Brahms and turntablism as backdrop for choreographer Kenneth Walker’s latest contemporary ballet Echo of a Remembered Placed. This concert by Kenneth Walker Dance Project also includes repertory favorites including Hum set to classical music combined with Candice Davis’ rain forest sounds. Cal State University Dominguez Hills, University Theater, 1000 E. Victoria St., Carson; Sun., July 29, 2:30 p.m., $16.  

Kenneth Walker Dance Project. Photo by Michael Khoury.
Kenneth Walker Dance Project. Photo by Michael Khoury.
4.  Summer dancers

It’s summer and time for this year’s edition of choreographer Raiford Rogers’ Modern Ballet. This year’s premiere is Naivete of Flowers set to music by the late composer Lloyd Rodgers. From last year, Rogers reprises his Joshua Tree Symphony with music by Czech composer Zbynek Mateju. Rogers’ architectural choreography benefits from his top notch dancers, many on summer hiatus from ballet companies including Los Angeles Ballet. Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Cal State University Los Angeles, 5151 State University Dr., East L.A.; Sat., July 28, 8 p.m., $25-$45.

Raiford Rogers Modern Ballet. Photo courtesy of RRMB.
Raiford Rogers Modern Ballet. Photo courtesy of RRMB.

3.  It’s so NOW

Each summer, the magical potential of a black box theater is explored by emerging artists in dance, music, theatre and that ever-elusive category multi-media during the three week New Original Works (NOW) Festival. The 15th annual NOW Fest is perhaps the most dance-drenched in recent years with dance the focus or major component of seven of the nine artists being presented. The week, Week 2, includes KyungHwa Lee considering the “ideal” body with the six dancers costumed in “body parts” from 3-D printers, Sebastian Hernandez considers sisterhood in Hypanthium, named for the rose part that holds nectar, and marching music accompanies Milka Djordjevich’s all female ensemble in Corps.  Week 3 has Butoh from Oguri set against Rachel Mason’s song cycle and a video environment, choreography by Genna Moroni for dancers and 30-foot tall figures observed through 3-D glasses conceived by light artist Christine Marie, while Carlon who recently set a large group work at the ocean in Santa Monica, this time sets dancers against a malleable cardboard landscape in fold, unford, refold.  Program details at REDCAT 631 W. 2nd St., downtown; Thurs.-Sat., July 26-28, and Aug. 2-3, 8:30 p.m., $20, $40 for festival, $16 students.

New Original Works (NOW) Festival's Milka Djordjevich. Photo courtesy of the artist.
New Original Works (NOW) Festival’s Milka Djordjevich. Photo courtesy of the artist.

2.  Moving in the dark

Dance erupts after dark as the soaring exteriors of Disney Hall provide the stage for three L.A.-based contemporary companies selected for the third edition of Moves After Dark. Known as the choreographer as well as a musician with String Theory, Holly Rothschild leaves String Theory’s giant harps at home and emphasizes choreography with her company Strange and Elegant Dance. Her Under/Current has a sound score from Luke Rothschild that incorporates street sounds. Laurie Selfton’s Clairobscur Dance brings Concert Walls, backed by a score by Bryan Curt Kostors performed live. A 1920’s garden party is re-envisioned in Gatsby Redux from Mixed eMotion Theatrix led by Janet Rosten. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Tues.-Wed., July 31-Aug. 1, 8:30 p.m., $30.

Moves After Dark's Strange and Elegant Dance. Photo courtesy of the artists.
Moves After Dark’s Strange and Elegant Dance. Photo courtesy of the artists.

1.  Brazil meets building 

While visiting Brazil and Chile, choreographer Heidi Duckler discovered Brazilian Clarice Lispector’s short stories, three of which inspired the choreographer’s latest site specific event, A Bela e a Fera A Salon: An evening of 3 Clarice Lispector short stories in dance. As with many Heidi Duckler Dance performances, each story unfolds in a different space with the audience moving about. (Comfortable shoes are a must.) Set in an arched hallway, Such Gentleness finds dancer Raymond Ejiofor on an illuminated plexiglass and steel light table. The title work, A Bela e a Fera which translates to Beauty and the Beast, takes the audience to the rooftop with dancer Tess Hewlett. Back indoors, a short film captures the collaboration with Duckler and fabric artist Mimi Haddon inspired by Lispector’s The Sound of Footsteps before the evening concludes with drinks, supper and a preview of Duckler’s next Lispector-inspired endeavor The Chandelier.   Original music is by M83’s Joe Berry, with narration by Paula Rebelo. Appropriately, the site, built in 1928 for the Bendix Oil Company, was one of the last major projects from Florence C. Casler, one of the rare women developers in early 20th century L.A. The Bendix Building, 1206 Maple Ave., Ste. 1100B, downtown; Sun., July 29, 7 p.m., 7 p.m., $50.

    Other dance of note:

In this performance, four choreographers showcase three weeks of work with sixteen professional ballet dancers. Kevin Jenkins, David Justin, Ilya Kozadayev and Mariana Oliveira are the choreographer quartet in this year’s edition of Molly Lynch’s National Choreographers Initiative. While not finished works, since NCI began in 2004, more than 50 ballets have emerged from this incubator, many going on to fully realized performance by professional companies. Irvine Barclay Theater, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine; Sat., July 28, 8 p.m., $40, $20 students.

Not Man Apart Physical Ensemble in
Not Man Apart Physical Ensemble in “Lysistrata Unbound”. Photo by Enci Box.

The latest 21st century exploration of classical plays involving movement mavens Not Man Apart Physical Theatre Ensemble considers another Greek classic in Lysistrata Unbound. Considered a comedy, Aristophanes’ original considers what would occur if Greek women withheld sex to protest the ongoing war with Sparta. Choreographer John Farmanesh is also directing with assistant choreographers Alina Bolshakova, Jones Welsh Talmage and the Not Man Apart company. See website for additional stray performances, special wine nights and other events. Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8, p.m., Sun., 2 p.m., thru Sat., Aug. 4, $32-$37, $25 seniors, $22 under 30, $17 students.

Ballet Hispanico. Photo by Paula Lobo.
Ballet Hispanico. Photo by Paula Lobo.

A contemporary take on Bizet’s gypsy temptress Carmen is offered by Ballet Hispánico in Carmen.Maquia, part of this week’s Muse/ique’s summer music series. The evening includes music by Gershwin, John Williams and Lin-Manuel Miranda conducted by artistic director Rachael Worby. Grounds open at 6 p.m. for dining. Huntington Library, Brown Garden Lawn, 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino; Sat., July 28, 8 p.m., $30-$130. 626-539-7085.  

Toltecayotl. Photo courtesy of the artists.
Toltecayotl. Photo courtesy of the artists.

The Aztec dance ensemble Toltecayotl offers a free performance in a park at 363 E. Villa, Pasadena; Sat., July 28, 5:30 p.m., free. 323-363-5931.

Celebrate National Dance Day with a free series of live performances, dance lessons and the chance to learn this year’s routine led by Allison Holker from So You Think You Can Dance. Details about the event and links to this year’s routine at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Julianne and George Argyros Plaza, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Sat., July 28, 1 p.m.-8 p.m., free. 

Afro-Cuban dance is the offering at this week’s free lesson at JAM Sessions. All skill levels are welcome to participate in the class or to just watch and enjoy the music and movement. Ford Theaters, 2850 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood; Mon., July 30, 7 p.m., free. 

As suggested by the title: Tarrying with the White Supremacies of Western Concert Dance: A Lecture Demonstration, choreographer Sarah Ashkin of the GROUND SERIES dance collective is focused on the legacy of racism in western concert dance. The evening will include sharing of scholarship, poetry, performance and conclude with a group dialogue. This is something of a prelude to performances at Highways Performance Space in August.  Pieter Performance Space, 420 W. Avenue 33, #10, Lincoln Heights; Thurs., July 26, 7 p.m., non-monetary donation to the free bar or free boutique.

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