Coming Back Live …With Lessons Covid Taught

New contemporary ballets in Irvine, a flamenco duo downtown, all live!  Plus a virtual online premiere, dance inspired by veterans’ letters, Covid vaccines, the samba, a prior pandemic, plus more SoCal dance this week.

The Feet Have It

Dancers Cristina “La Tigresa” Lucio and Briseyda Zaráte bring the ferocity of live flamenco to the reopened Grand Performances. Musicians and singers joining the event include Antonio de Jerez, Jose Tanaka, and Gerardo Morales. DJ Ethos provides pre-show sounds at 6 p.m. Grand Performances, California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., July 23, 7 p.m., free with reservation through Eventbrite.

Briseyda Zárate
Briseyda Zárate. Photo by Bruce Bisenz.

New choreography tweaked

Last summer, after 15 continuous summers, the National Choreographers Initiative (NCI) and its one-night only performance of new contemporary ballets was a Covid–19 cancellation. NCI resumes its traditions with a couple of new twists. NCI artistic director Molly Lynch again assembled a quartet of choreographers with Sean Aaron Carmon, Katarzyna (Kate) Skarpetowska, Mari Meade, and Eva Stone. One new tweak, instead of recruiting dancers from across the country, NCI recruited two pods of dancers from San Francisco’s Smuin Contemporary Ballet and Sacramento Ballet providing a chance to see California dancers from companies that seldom tour here. Brandon Alexander, Maggie Carey, Ricardo Dyer, Cassidy Isaacson, Lauren Pschirrer, and Brennan Wall are the San Francisco dancers and Anthony Cannarella, Ava Chatterson, Julia Feldman, Michelle Katcher, Kristoffer Reyes, and Isabella Velasquez are the crew from Sacramento. Another tweak is the addition of a livestream option to compensate for the safety measure of ticketing at only 40% of the theater’s capacity for what is always a sold out show. National Choreographers Institute at Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine; Sat. July 24, 8 p.m., In person $20–45. Livestream $20. Irvine Barclay Theatre.

National choreographers Institute
National Choreographers Institute. Photo by Dave Friedman.

A Trio of Online Choices

Igor Stravinsky’s Concerto for Two Pianos provides the music for Nightbloom, choreographer Janie Taylor’s new work for LA Dance Project being premiered in a limited, online, pay-per-view event that streams for 72 hours The dancers include Anthony Lee Bryant, David Adrian Freeland Jr., Daisy Jacobson, Shu Kinouchi, Nayomi Van Brunt, and Vinicius Silva. Fri., July 23, 5 p.m. to July 25; tickets available in three price points: the work ($11.99), the work plus interviews and other extras ($14.99), and paired with a second work Solo at Dusk by Bobbi Jene Smith in collaboration with Or Schraiber ($24.99). All three options provide 72-hour access. LA Dance Project.

LA Dance Project
LA Dance Project. Photo courtesy of the artists.

A Peek at Live Dance Coming Next Week

Forever Flamenco at Fountain Theater, East Hollywood, July 30-Aug. 1.

Jessica Emmanuel at Jeffrey Deitch, downtown; July 26 to Aug. 21.

Westside Ballet Adult Dance Showcase at Westside Ballet, Santa Monica; Sun., July 25.

Contra Tiempo at the Ford Theatre, Hollywood; Fri., July 30.

Online Encores

Addressing the jab

Among the innovative Covid-19 vaccination efforts, Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital Campus (MLK) teamed with site specific dance company Heidi Duckler Dance to create a short, public service announcement film Ages Take Action. The film includes a score produced by the Young Producers Group comprised of LAUSD students enrolled in music production classes. The video continues HDD’s ongoing partnership with MLK and its Watts/Willowbrook neighborhood. The video will be part of community outreach efforts by hospital personnel and other health professionals to disseminate information about the vaccination effort and address the disproportionate pandemic toll on BIPOC communities. Viewable online at Vimeo.

Heidi Duckler Dance.
Heidi Duckler Dance. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Vets’ letters from the front

One of the most powerful dance videos to emerge during the initial months of the pandemic came from Diavolo Architecture in Motion‘s Veterans Project with the stories and insights of military veterans who had become front line medical workers during the pandemic. The veterans went toe to toe in bravura movement with some of Diavolo’s astonishing athletes and signature structures. The Veterans Project most recent video is an equally mesmerizing endeavor, the product of an eight day workshop with writings by the veterans interpreted by dancers from around the world. The final product of S.O.S. Veterans Project 2021 premiered appropriately on July 4 and streams until August 4 on Diavolo’s YouTube page at YouTube.

Diavolo Vets
Diavolo Veterans Project. Photo by George Simian.

L.A. dance gets a little love 

The third season of the Music Center’s digital series For the Love of L.A. keeps adding new videos filled with curated dance, music, and visual arts. The season includes South Asian-American dance with Shalini Bathina and 17-year old Shreya Patel, Japanese influenced dance in a film directed and performed by Kyoko Takenaka, contemporary dance set in Leimert Park from Brianna Mims, an excursion between beach and backyard from Maya Alvarez-Coyne, Albertossy Espinoza’s LA Fusion Dance Theater, and more. Online free, at Music Center.

Brianna Mims.
Brianna Mims. Photo courtesy of the artist.

She does like a good book

Choreographer Rosanna Gamson has drawn some of her most compelling work from literature ranging from Scheherazade in Tales of the Arabian Nights to the Brothers Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel, and lectures by theoretical physicist Richard Feynman. Other than Albert Camus’ The Plague, what could be more appropriate pandemic source material than Boccaccio’s Decameron with tales from ten strangers sheltering from the bubonic plague? Just as the tales of the ten travelers unfold one at a time, Gamson’s The Decameron Project rolls out ten films, each made by a different artist. All ten episodes are now live and viewable for free on RGWW and on Instagram.

Rosanna Gamson
Rosanna Gamson/World Wide. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Dances with cars

Over three Saturdays, Suárez Dance Theater rolled out three short films under the banner Mapping Our Stories. Inspired by the histories of Black, Native and LatinX people, each film is set in a Santa Monica public space with often overlooked cultural significance (the city provided funding). Choreographer/performer Bernard Brown of bbmoves takes the audience from the landmark Phillips Chapel CME Church (the 1909 church was the first serving the African American Community) to the site of “Inkwell Beach” where Blacks and Browns were restricted in segregated California beaches. Acknowledging her Chumash and Tongva Nations heritage, poet/songwriter Jessa Calderon’s film starts overlooking the ocean from Tongva Park. The history of the Westside Classics Car Club in Santa Monica is the focus of the film from Primera Generación Dance Collective (PGDC) and its members Alfonso Cervera, Rosa Rodriguez-Frazier, Irvin Manuel Gonzalez, and Patricia “Patty” Huerta. Each film has resources for further exploration and continue to screen for free at Bernard Brown/bbmoves’s “…at leisure…,” Jessa Calderon’s “Before the Noise,” Primera Generación Dance Colletive’s “low riting”

Primera Generación
Primera Generación Dance Collective’s “low riting”

Oh, the places we have been 

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. Just as vaccination and pandemic restrictions start to allow travel, the 15-week dance film world tour that began in January concluded earlier this month with Emma Rosenzweig-Bock in a film co-directed by Jonas and Ireland-based Kevin McGloughlin. It joins the other 14 short films still viewable at Films.Dance.

Films.Dance. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Online Dance Classes

Pandemic exhaustion? Post-pandemic fitness promises to keep? Get thee to a dance class!

On-line dance classes continue on zoom, instagram, other on-line platforms, and increasingly in person. 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.

Dance classes
Dance classes.

What are you looking for?