Clairobscur Surveys Sex and Sensuality

This week’s SoCal dance events include Rosanna Gamson/WorldWide dreams in Torrance, Los Angeles Ballet brings three Balanchine masterpieces to Redondo Beach, undergrad choreographers debut in Long Beach, Paradise Lost continues in West Hollywood, and Clairobscur Dance Theater on the sensual in Mid-City.

  1.  Next gen dancemakers

In the second Contemporary Dance Concert program, CSULB undergraduate choreographers unveil six contemporary dances set to original music scores, drawing on visual arts and incorporating theatrical techniques. Contributors are Ashlee Blosser, Madison Clark, Makenna LaFortune, Daniel Miramontes, Maili Schlosser, Dolly Sfeir, and Blair Shearer-Pope. Info at CalState University Long Beach, Martha Knoebel Dance Theater, 6200 E. Atherton St., Long Beach; Thurs.-Fri., March 16-17, 8 p.m., Sat., March 17, 2 & 8 p.m.; $20, $16 seniors & students. 562-985-7000,

CSULB Contemporary Dance Concert Photo courtesy of CSULB dance department
CSULB Contemporary Dance Concert. Photo courtesy of CSULB dance department.
  1.  All is not lost

Led by Diavolo alum Jones (Welsh) Talmadge and Laura Covelli, Not Man Apart Physical Theater has a strong track record successfully taking on contemporary issues filtered through historical prisms often Greek mythology as in the recent Ajax in Iraq which considered parallels between U.S. military involvement in Iraq and the great warrior Ajax from the Trojan War. For Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny continuing this week, NMA takes aim at John Milton’s epic poem about the battle of angels vs demons and the fall from grace of Adam and Eve. An original score and live digital animation, video and lots of other technical goings on underscore the dance, acrobatics and onstage theatrics. More details at Greenway Court Theatre, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 7 p.m. thru Sun., April 2. $20-$30, $15-20 students & military. 323-673-0544,

Not Man Apart Physical Theater Photo courtesy of NMAPT
Not Man Apart Physical Theater. Photo courtesy of NMAPT.
  1. Are they dreaming?

Always one of L.A.’s most interesting choreographers, Rosanna Gamson and her company Rosanna Gamson/WorldWide return with Still/Restless considering dream states and the history of neuroscientific explorations of dreaming. The dancers move against music ranging from new world post rock instrumentals to compositions by 17th century French court composer Marin Marais. El Camino College, Marsee Auditorim, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance;  Sat., March 18, 8 p.m., $21. 310-329-5345,

RosannaGamson/WorldWide Photo courtesy of RGWW
RosannaGamson/WorldWide. Photo courtesy of RGWW.
  1. A matter of choice

Under the banner no option, choice, preference, artistic director/choreographer Laurie Sefton and her Clairobscur Dance Company bring new works and two repertory favorites to the stage. Sefton is known for her strong, tightly constructed contemporary choreography and unabashed willingness to consider issues with an unflinching eye. Her new work, Girl, Get Off, considers consensual sex and sensuality from a female perspective. From the repertoire, desiccated earth/California takes on climate change and the aptly titled Bully takes on a new political perspective. Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4708 W. Washington Blvd., mid-City; Sat., March 18, 8 p.m., $25-$50, $20 students.

Los Angeles Ballet's Prodigal Son Photo by Reed Hutchinson
Los Angeles Ballet’s Prodigal Son. Photo by Reed Hutchinson.
  1. Three faces of Balanchine

Only a select few companies receive permission from the Balanchine Trust to present a George Balanchine ballet, let alone three ballets in the same program, but Los Angeles Ballet’s artistic directors Colleen Neary and Thordal Christensen have deep roots with Balanchine. Neary was personally selected by Balanchine to set his ballets on companies all over the world (recently at the Paris Opera Ballet). Three different faces of Balanchine’s genius take the stage as LAB’s’s 11th season continues. Mr. B’s classical inclinations are illustrated in Divertimento No. 15, an LAB premiere set to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  The dramatic Prodigal Son dates from Balanchine’s time with Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, the only time Balanchine worked with composer Sergei Prokofiev. This Prodigal Son was set on LAB by Colleen Neary’s sister Patricia Neary regarded as one of the foremost interpreters of the sexy, avaricious Siren who leads the Prodigal to his ruin. The joyfully jazzy finale Who Cares?, set to some of George Gershwin most beguiling tunes, harkens back to Balanchine’s time choreographing for Hollywood movies in the 1930’s. Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., March 18, 7:30 p.m.; Also at UCLA Royce Hall, 340 Royce Dr., Westwood; Sun., March 26, 2 p.m.; $31-$99, 20% discount for students, seniors & military. 310-998-7782,

Los Angeles Ballet's Prodigal Son Photo by Reed Hutchinson
Los Angeles Ballet’s Prodigal Son Photo by Reed Hutchinson

Other dance of note:  

Based on a story about a child who overindulges in a pastry shop, Alexei Ratmansky’s newest for American Ballet TheatreWhipped Cream, promises a frothy, family friendly ballet. This is the world premiere, so SoCal gets it before New York! Complete casting at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Thurs., March 16, 7:30 p.m., Sat., March 18, 2 & 7:30 p.m., Sun., March 19, 1 & 6:30 p.m., $39-$159. 714-556-2787,

American Ballet Theatre's Whipped Cream Photo by Ruven Afanador
American Ballet Theatre’s Whipped Cream. Photo by Ruven Afanador.

While Pantsula 4 Lyf is not live performance, this celebration of popular dance in South Africa offers photographer Chris Saunders’ intriguing photos and videos capturing pantsula’s adaptation of hip hop and American fashion. Featuring crews of young men and women in Johannesburg, pantsula performers favor American-name brands like Converse All-Star shoes and Dickies brand work pants. UCLA Fowler Museum, 308 Charles E Young Dr. N, Westwood; Wed., noon – 8 p.m., Thurs.-Sun., noon – 5 p.m. thru Sun., May 7, free.

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