Come and Take the “E” Train

South Asian dance in Santa Monica, a flamenco riff on Miles Davis in Hollywood, bits of George Balanchine ballets two ways downtown, dance “traffic” in Beverly Hills, a 30th anniversary in Long Beach, dancers commuting on light rail in Santa Monica, and more SoCal dance this week.

5. They keep on dancing

One of the stalwarts on the local dance scene, Nannette Brodie and her eponymous Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre celebrate their 30th anniversary– how else?–by dancing! The program includes several repertoire favorites including Let Them Eat Cake, Strength in Sorrow, and To Holiday, plus Brodie’s newest Every Soldier Has a Story. Martha B. Knoebel Dance Theater, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach; Sat., June 2, 8 p.m., $25-$40, $15 students, military & veterans.

Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre. Photo courtesy of NBDT.
Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre. Photo courtesy of NBDT.

4. South Asian dance for all ages

A myriad of South Asian dance, music, visual art and film are on view in this Artwallah THRIVES festival curated by Sheetal Gandhi. Among the dance/theater contributors look for Danish Bhandara, Lional Popkin, Richa Shukla and Gandhi. On Saturday morning Kidwallah offers family-friendly dancing, hands on art making and live performance. Kids must be accompanied by an adult and reservations are strongly suggested at A full list of artists and events at Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., June 1-2, 8:30 p.m., $20 in advance, $25 at door. Kidwallah on Sat., June 2, 11 a.m., suggested donation $5-$10.

Artwallah "THRIVES". Photo courtesy of Artwallah.
Artwallah “THRIVES”. Photo courtesy of Artwallah.

3. Reveling in a new studio

Since its founding several years ago, LA Dance Project‘s local performances have been few and far between. Benjamin Millepied and LADP have taken some chiding for being largely absent from L.A. despite benefiting from the cache of L.A. in its name, especially during its European tours. All that seems to be changing with increasing local shows including two performances over the past year as part of a residency at Beverly Hills’ Wallis Annenberg Theater. A watershed moment may be the opening of its own studio, offices and performance space that hosts Live from 2245 a title which should also help audiences recall the arts district address. Program A pairs Noe Soulier’s Second Quartet with the L.A. premiere of Millepied’s Bach Studies (Part I). Program B includes Martha Graham Duets drawn from Martha Graham’s larger works and Millepied’s Hearts & Arrows and the Other Side. Program schedule on the website L.A. Dance Project, 2245 E. Washington Blvd., downtown; Thurs.-Sat., May 31-June 2, Tues.-Sat., June 5-9, 8 p.m., $25, $20 students. 213-622-5995,

L.A. Dance Project's "Martha Graham Duets". Photo by James Welling.
L.A. Dance Project’s “Martha Graham Duets”. Photo by James Welling.

2. Where the BODYTRAFFIC moves

No one’s voice smoulders like the late songstress Peggy Lee. Eight of her signature vocals join the debut album of British-born DJ Perc (aka Ali Wells), compositions from Arvo Part and Pierre Boulez, plus iconic American jazz from Clark Terry, Oscar Peterson and Count Bassie as L.A.-based contemporary company BODYTRAFFIC closes its celebratory tenth anniversary season and makes its debut at this increasingly significant dance venue. Artistic directors Lillian Rose Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett have assembled dancers who move seamlessly from impressive ballet technique through a range of equally demanding contemporary moves, abilities that draw major national and international choreographers to create on the company. For this season’ finale and venue debut, the directors offer an impressive choreographer line up with works by Ohad Naharin from Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company, Matthew Neenan from Pennsylvania’s Ballet X, German choreographer Richard Siegal, Belgian choreographer Stijn Celis and New York choreographer Sidra Bell. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, Thurs.-Sat., May 31-June 2, 7:30 p.m., $25-$45,

BODYTRAFFIC. Photo by Lee Gumbs.
BODYTRAFFIC. Photo by Lee Gumbs.

1. Anyone want to ride?

After last year’s joyful display of dance along the Expo light rail line, instigator Donna Sternberg returns with Transit Dances II. A new edition to surprise and delight along three Santa Monica stops on the Expo Line starting at the 26th Street/Bergamot station and concluding at the 4th Street station. The event is free with a Metro ticket. At each stop tour guides will lead audience members to a performance site and after the performance the audience moves on to the next of the three stops. Though focused in Santa Monica, the participating performers reflect SoCal’s extraordinary diversity. Announced dancers and troupes include INCA (Peruvian), Kayamanan Ng Lahi (Phillipines), Wilfried Souly (Africa), Julie Kim (Korean), and Sternberg’s own Donna Sternberg & Dancers (contemporary American). Expo Line, 26th Street/Bergamot station, Santa Monica; Sat., June 2, noon & 1 p.m., free with a Metro ticket.

"Transit Dances II". Photo courtesy of Donna Sternberg & Dancers.
“Transit Dances II”. Photo courtesy of Donna Sternberg & Dancers.

           Other dance of note:

Dance is not a theoretical art. Once the movement is set on dancers’ bodies, one of the few ways a choreographer can calibrate what’s still needed is to get the work before an audience. The always interesting Rosanna Gamson and her troupe Rosanna Gamson/World Wide offer an open rehearsal of her latest Sugar Houses. Dancers include Mallory Fabian, Clementine Gamson Levy, Kearian Giertz, Kayla Johnson, Paul Outlaw and Kevin Zambrano. Brockus Project Studios, 618B Moulton, Lincoln Heights; Sun., June 3, 3 p.m., free but donations welcome.

Offering your own choreography in a program otherwise devoted to the genius of choreographer George Balanchine is audacious, but American Contemporary Ballet artistic director Lincoln Jones has never lacked for audacity. Billed as a tribute to Balanchine’s neo-classical style, Jones’ new work joins excerpts from Balanchine’s Who Cares, Stars & Stripes, Union Jack and Western Symphony in Spectacular Balanchine! ACB Studios, 700 S. Flower St., Suite 3200, downtown; Thurs.-Sat., June 7-9 & 14-16, Sun., June 10 & 17, 4 p.m., $40-$500.

American Contemporary Ballet. Photo by Will Davidson.
American Contemporary Ballet. Photo by Will Davidson.

Overseen by former New York City Ballet principal dancers Jenifer Ringer and James Fayette, Pinnacle is the year end performance by the Colburn Dance Academy’s pre-professional ballet program. Demonstrating the students’ range, the program segues from the classical with Petipa’s Sleeping Beauty pas de deux to the neo-classical with George Balanchine’s Tarentella, Valse Fantasie plus excerpts from Who Cares? and goes contemporary with a section from Benjamin Millepied’s Moving Parts. Alumna Miranda Wattier appears in part of Jerome Robbins Piano Pieces. Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts, 450 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Sun., June 3, 6 p.m., $10.

Pianist Chano Domínguez’ flamenco reconsideration of Miles Davis’1959 best-selling album Kind of Blue is the centerpiece, but Flamenco Sketches also includes flamenco dancer Daniel Navarro and singer Blas Cordoba. The event opens the Ford’s IGNITE @ the FORD! summer series with seating on the stage as well as in the amphitheater. Ford Theatres, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood; Fri., June 1, 8:30 p.m., $40, $60 onstage. 323-461-3673,

The free al fresco summer series Grand Performances offers L.A. Dance Party/USA in conjunction with the 2018 Dance USA Annual Conference being held this week. Those attending likely will be more interested in the performance by D. sabela Grimes and the music and promised dance party. California Plaza, 300 & 350 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Wed., June 6, 9 p.m., free.

D. sabela Grimes. Photo courtesy of the artist.
D. sabela Grimes. Photo courtesy of the artist.

For three decades, the Music Center’s Spotlight Program has offered SoCal high school students the chance to perform on a Music Center stage along with a tidy scholarship. Each year applicants in a range of performing and visual arts including classical dance (ballet) and non-classical dance (the rest of the dance spectrum) with two finalists in each category that chance to perform in the annual gala event. Not all go on to professional careers, although ballet dancer Misty Copeland and singer Josh Groban are among the Spotlight alumni who went pro. Never heard of Spotlight? Until recently the Spotlight Grand Finale Performance was not a public event with tickets available to participants, families, donors and the nationally known finalist panels. Now the show is open to the public and this year’s event is hosted by Angela Bassett. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Tues., June 5, 7 p.m., $20.

Benita Bike's DanceArt. Photo courtesy of BBDA.
Benita Bike’s DanceArt. Photo courtesy of BBDA.

Choreographer Benita Bike and her Benita Bike’s DanceArt bring their interactive dance program to Culver City Senior Center, 4095 Overland Ave., Culver City; Sun., June 3, 1:30 p.m. Free. 818-353-5734.

Look for Louise Reichlin & Dancers/Los Angeles Choreographers & Dancers among the performers at the annual Lummis Day Festival. Sycamore Grove Park, 4702 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park. Sun., June 3, 4:25 p.m., free. 323-646-8331.

Once known as St. Joseph’s Ballet, The Wooden Floor, began as an afterschool program for underserved children and teens with dance only one of several program components. Dance was so popular and its annual showcase such a draw, the young dancers attracted significant choreographers to share or set work on them. This year’s 35th annual concert under the banner Unifying Catalysts features work from Sean Curran, Mark Haim and Amy O’Neal. Irvine Barclay Theater, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine; Thurs.-Fri., May 31-June 1, 8 p.m., Sat., June 2, 2:30 & 8 p.m., $20-$50, $10-$25 students & children under 13 years.,

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