Can We Do This Yet?
Matthew Bourne channels Hans Christian Andersen, German breakdance goes L.A., a postponed Shamanic encore, dancing mother love, online encores, where to take online dance classes, and more SoCal dance this week.
If this is Monday, where are we this week?
With support from three theaters, The Wallis and The Soraya in SoCal and The Harris in Chicago, Jacob Jonas The Company worked with more than 150 artists all over the globe to produce short dance films for the series, Films.Dance. Pandemic restrictions still preclude travel but for 15 weeks that started January 25, a new film takes viewers to a different world destination each Monday until May 3. The films screen for free. Week 9 unveils Same Sky with choreography by Rauf “RubberLegz” Yasit, a German break-dancer living in Los Angeles. Jacob Jonas The Company members Joy Isabella Brown, Miguel Alejandro López, Mike Tyus and Jill Wilson perform. The new addition joins ANOTHER SERIOUS DANCE FILM with New York City Ballet’s Sara Mearns in NYC, Dadu set in the Dutch hamlet of Spaarnwoude, 正念 – NOW with BeijingDance/LDTX company dancer Li Kehua (Lico), Edging Normal with dancer Desmond Richardson in New York, Match bringing five choreographers and 46 dancers drawn from 20 countries in a scene-shifting world tour, Pássaro Distante from Brasil, Toke spotlighting Danish-born dancer Toke Broni Strandby in London locales, and Kaduna filmed in Nigeria. Mon., 9 a.m., free. New additions each Monday to May 3. Info on the full line-up of 15 films and free subscriptions at Films.Dance, The Wallis, The Soraya.
Death by dancing
Center Theater Group continues its parade of Matthew Bourne theatrical reinterpretations with Bourne’s reworking of the classic ballet film The Red Shoes which retold a Hans Christian Andersen story. Bourne’s version contains his masterful theatrical storytellling, but one of the most delicious and insightful scenes doesn’t involve the heroine. The moment comes early as the reigning ballerina and her partner separately take to the stage “to mark” steps in the upcoming ballet. Audiences will chuckle and dancers will recognize the pre-performance self-absorption. The luminous cast includes Ashley Shaw as the doomed dancer with Adam Cooper and Dominic North as the two men vying for her. Streaming Sat., March 20, 5 & 8 p.m., Sun., March 21, 1 & 5 p.m. PDT, $10 at CTG.
Try, try again
Originally performed in 2017, MU/巫: 9 Goddesses, Dohee Lee’s ritual theater shamanic experience was scheduled for a live encore performance last June that was postponed by the pandemic. Lee returns in a virtual event, MU/Connector: Chilseong Saenamgut, a new exploration of ancestral traditions promising dance, singing, drumming, electronic soundscapes, immersive video, and community participation. Fri., March 19, 8:30 p.m., Sat., March 20, 5 p.m., PDT. $15, $12 students. REDCAT.
A 14-year journey
In 2019, choreographer Suchi Branfman offered the live premiere of Angee’s Journey about a mother who for 14 years made a monthly, 12-hour journey that required three trains, two buses, and two taxis to visit her incarcerated son. Since leaving prison, the son became a published author, life coach, criminal justice reformer, and sought-after speaker who credits his mother’s visits with his survival and success. Branfman reworked the original dancework into a powerful 35-minute film that segues between documentary and contemporary dance performance. Branfman also co-directed. Tom Tsai was cinematographer. Thurs., March 18, 6 p.m.PDT, free at Eventbrite.
Tiptoe through the tulips
As part of its online streaming series reprising past seasons’ live performances, the Luckman Theater offers an encore of Raiford Rogers Modern Ballet’s Naivete of Flowers (Acts 1 & 2), set to the music of Lloyd Rodgers. Streaming free through Sun., March 21, 11:59 p.m. Luckman Theater.
Sharing the space
In this pay-per-view premiere attention-getting choreographers/dancers Jermaine Spivey + Spenser Theberge unveil The Betweens. The announcement from presenter L.A. Dance Project suggests tickets for this global viewing party will be limited and after the performance, the new work will stream for only 24 hours. Sat., March 20, 5 p.m., $19.99 performance, $24.99 includes an interview with the performers plus a dance class with each. L.A. Dance Project.
Not just talking
After a refreshing live performance, albeit in a parking lot, Benita Bike’s DanceArt latest offering is an online, interactive edition of its Let’s Talk Dance with a focus on performance, costume, identity and presentation. Thurs., March 25, 7 p.m. free with registration at DanceArt.
Dancers going solo
This year’s LA Women’s Theatre Festival includes a dance component in many of its six night’s of solo performances. The Thursday opening includes award presentations and performances including Korean dancer Julie Kim in Abandon. On Friday, tapper Lynn Jassem joins the line-up with a segment from her one-woman show Tapping My Way to the Nuthouse. Saturday includes Cynthia Ling Lee’s dance theater piece Lost Chinatowns. On Sunday, Pamela Najera employs dance in Too Old, Too Asian, Too Short. Thurs., March 25, 7 p.m., $25, Fri.March 26-Tues., March 30, 7 p.m., $20 single ticket, $90 for festival pass. More info and tickets at LA Women’s Theatre Festival.
Not quite a dozen
Eleven champion tango couples get support from an orchestra populated by ten grammy-award winning tango musicians in Tango The Musical by Sergei Tumas. The show celebrates the centenary of tango icon Astor Piazzolla (1921–1992). Argentinian choreographers Iván Leonardo Romero and Silvana Nuñez supplied the moves. Center Theatre Group’s Digital Stage, Thurs., March 25, 5 p.m., Fri.-Sat., March 26–27, 5 & 8 p.m., Sun., March 28, 1& 5 p.m., PDT, $10 at CTG.
Three to present one
Three theaters joined forces in early March to present a free performance by flamenco artist Israel Galván in Maestro de Barra. Reviewers have described Galvan as a master at capturing the fiery spirit and quicksilver footwork of this percussive art form without dancing into movement clichés. Moving outside traditional confines of flamenco, Galván has collaborated with jazz musician Pat Metheny and contemporary choreographer Akram Khan. Kudos to the three presenters, especially UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) which continues to offer the performance thru May 31. Info and free access at CAP UCLA.
Dancin’ around LA
In the absence of touring companies inside its theaters, the Music Center is giving a little love and attention to LA’s dance companies as part of the series For The Love Of L.A. filmed in different parts of the city. A recent addition offers Kyoko Takenaka’s martial arts-infused movement. She joins Brianna Mims performing in Leimert Park, Versa-Style Dance Company‘s street dancers at the beach, folkloric troupe Pacifico Dance Company at nine different locations representing different areas of Mexico, the tap group Syncopated Ladies on a downtown rooftop, Rangoli Dance Company celebrating a South Asian goddess, Albertossy Espinoza’s LA Fusion Dance Theater with Flamenco fusion duet, and Pat Taylor’s Jazz Antiqua Dance & Music Ensemble in parks, alleys, and an empty business street. Free online at Music Center.
Drawing its title and subject matter from Clint Smith’s poem How to Raise a Son, the poet gives voice to his words as the camera follows dancer Dennzyl Green. A current member of the Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre, Green performs and shares choreography credit with Brodie. The film is the latest contribution from NBDT and the South Coast Dance Alliance. Free online on Vimeo
Is there a sequel?
Originally staged in 2016 to sold out audiences, Invertigo Dance Theatre’s After It Happened receives a timely encore presentation. Set in the aftermath of a natural disaster, the work considers how a community rebuilds and scavenges for signs of hope and resilience. When originally presented, the work suggested a natural disaster, maybe an earthquake or flood. A pandemic that has snatched a half million Americans and millions more around the world was not in the thinking. With the current tragedy front and center, not over, but maybe headed toward containment, After It Happened offers a thoughtful consideration through dance that suggests ways to create and build a new normal. Free with reservation at The Ford or Invertigo Dance Theatre.
Taking to the air(waves)
The SoCal contemporary ballet and aerial company Luminario Ballet has posted links to recent performances and also announced it has a new dance film coming sooon. The films are free at https://luminarioballet.org/,
Over the past year, choreographer Melissa Barak and her contemporary Barak Ballet shifted online several fine filmed performances, a virtual gala, and its own instagram channel. Some of the films are free at their website and Instagram.
A show of force
One of the most powerful filmed efforts from last year remains This is Me – Letters from the Front Lines from Diavolo Architecture in Motion and its Veterans Project. The film’s insights remain painfully true as military veterans who now are first responders confront what it means to be a warrior on the front lines of a pandemic as they gymnastically inhabit a world of pipes and moving structures while articulating the personal and professional realities of being on the front line of Covid-19. Diavolo.
Locking it up
Early in the pandemic, the street dance troupe Versa-Style Dance Company displayed a natural affinity to online streaming of performances and classes. The most recent film, Ending The Year With Hope, continues online and the company has a video filmed at the beach as part of the Music Center’s For the Love of LA series. The company’s YouTube channel hosts performance videos and videos on a range of life-skills subjects geared to young adults, but with pointers for all ages. Info and videos on YouTube and Versa-Style website.
Performances by Santa Monica College’s two resident companies, Synapse Contemporary Dance Theater and Global Motion World Dance Company, stream for free at SMC.
The past comes present
While the theatre itself remains closed, the Ford continues several online series showcasing past dance and music performances. The array of local dance companies in the line up reflects how the beloved al fresco venue functioned as an informal summer dance festival showcasing the energy and diversity in SoCal dance. Look for contemporary from Lula Washington Dance Theatre, street dance from Versa-Style Dance, Brazilian from Viver Brasil, plus traditional and contemporary folkloric dance from Grandeza Mexicano Folk Ballet Company, Pacifico Dance Company, the LA Phil’s exploration of Tovaangar Today with dancer Ba’ac Garcia, and contemporary South Asian, Bollywood and Bhangra dance from Achinta S. McDaniel and her Blue13. All free. Complete calendar and information at The Ford.
An international dozen
A dozen dancers working remotely from three continents developed a series of short videos presented by Nancy Evans Dance Theatre under the banner The Channels. The company also added a new installment of Figures of Speech, new dance works inspired by literature. Free at Nancy Evans Dance Theatre
The pandemic caught Pasadena’s Lineage Dance Company in the midst of construction of its new Lineage Performing Arts Center as well as figuring out how to offer classes and performance in a pandemic. The construction is finished and the dance company has scored with several videos including its most recent staged in Pasadena’s iconic Gamble House. Videos free online at Lineage.
Unexpected curriculum addition
The dance department at Cal State University Long Beach is among those shifting online videos to new dance channels on You Tube while also streaming two performances with dancers observing strict Covid-19 protocols. Those performances and more are free on YouTube.
Alone with others watching
Not content to simply be online with filmed dance, the site specific performance ensemble Heidi Duckler Dance launched its 35th anniversary with live walk-up or drive performances at sites throughout L.A. An array of projects and films can be found at Heidi Duckler Dance.
The movement and the music
Choreographer Pat Taylor’s work for her JazzAntiqua Dance and Music Ensemble ranges from pure celebration of the music to thoughtful considerations of the fight against racism and injustice. Videos stream for free at the JazzAntiqua website and YouTube.
Silver screen shifting
The year of the pandemic has brought several filmed dance ventures and a recent change of leadership for LA Contemporary Dance Company. The films plus info on the new artistic director, classes, and other activities at their website.
Feel like screaming?
Its award-winning film Screaming Shapes! is just one of several videos from choreographer Sophia and the dancers of Iris Company continuing for free online at. Iris Company.
With a new weekly online broadcast of a past performance, classes, workshops, and conversations, Viver Brasil was among the earliest LA dance companies to shift online and continues as one of the most active with videos, classes, workshops and more. Viver Brasil The troupe also is part of KCET’s Southland Sessions streaming at KCET.
Is it a question?
During the initial Covid–19 shutdown, 15 dancemakers created 90-second solos reflecting the range of reactions to the shelter-in-place order last spring. All 15 are collected in Emily Mast and Yehuda Duenyas’ project HOW ARE WE . Stream for free on Vimeo.
More in the lunchbox
Live streamed performances continue intermittently but REDCAT’s instagram channel offers a collection of prior dance performances including Genna Moroni, Tzong-Han Wu, and Rosanna Gamson/World Wide. Free at Instagram Channel.
The Music Center Offstage continues to stream new and encore video clips and performances. Visitors include Cuba’s Malpaso Dance Company and Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, local troupes include Jung Im Lee Korean Dance Academy, Kayamanan Ng Lahi Philippine Folk Arts, and Infinite Flow. Music Center.
When one was not enough
Last June’s four-part BlakTinx Dance Festival presented choreography from 20 Black and Latino dancemakers. All four programs continue for free online on YouTube.
Knock twice & tell them Jacob sent you
One of the first SoCal companies to offer a live performance in a parking lot, Jacob Jonas and his eponymous Jacob Jonas The Company performed Parked with vehicles encircling the “stage,” their headlights illuminating the socially spaced dancers performing to live music by Anibal Sandoval. A short film documenting the one-night only event continues to stream. Info at Jacob Jonas. Film on Vimeo.
Live music, virtual dance
Dance continues to be part of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s 20-21 online season, including dancer/choreographer Shauna Davis in the premiere of composer/musician Derrick Spiva Jr.’s two part work Mind The Rhythm. LACO’s music director Jaime Martin conducts. Link to free performance at LACO.
Dance just can’t quit them
Part panel discussion, part video clips and photos, part cross pollination of ideas–the Musco Center’s Ever a Dancer surveys different dance worlds in a livestreamed format. This installment assembles a quartet of familiar faces who contribute Asian and South Asian viewpoints to the discussion including Tomas Tamayo, Hiroko Hojo, Dulce Capadocia, and Malathi Iyengar. Free with registration and more info at the Musco Center.
Platforms to Submit Video Dance
With cautions about staying safe while filming, organizers Sarah Elgart and Cultural Weekly announced round 4 of Dare to Dance in Public with the theme of Pandemania, meaning a hyper energized state. Info on the judges, prior winners, plus rules and regulations for submission at Dare to Dance in Public Film Festival. The group’s other film endeavor Six Foot Dances is still accepting one-minute films. Current submissions on Dare to Dance in Public.
Online Dance Classes
Pandemic exhaustion? Get thee to a dance class!
On-line dance classes continue on zoom, instagram and other on-line platforms, 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
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ann Haskins has written about dance for L.A. Weekly since shortly after it began publishing. She also has written about local and national dance for Pointe Magazine, Dance Spirit Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, L.A. View, Coast Magazine, the Daily News, and the Herald Examiner. Among her broadcast projects, Ann hosted Inside Theater on KCRW-FM and contributed dance and theater features to both KLON-FM and KUSC-FM. She has received two Horton Awards from the Los Angeles Dance Resource Center for her coverage of dance in Los Angeles.