Dance “En Plein Aire

Dance gets immersive and site specific in Heritage Square, Santa Ana, and Beverly Hills; a Juneteenth preview in Westwood; a Turkish influence in Santa Monica;  contemporary ballet in Westwood, Pasadena, and downtown; opera dances downtown and in Long Beach; next gen dance in Hancock Park, Irvine, and downtown; more So Cal dance this week, and a peek at next week.

Live This Week

Novel dance

The opulence and excesses of the roaring 20’s (that’s the 1920s) in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby are evoked by choreographer Janet Roston’ and the dancers of Mixed eMotion Theatrix in Gatsby Redux. The site specific work returns to the elegant mansion that would fit right into the novel. Walking shoes and garb for the evening air advised. Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Dr., Beverly Hills; Thurs.-Sun., May 30-June 2, 7 pm, $35 (reservations required). Beverly Hills.

A group in white stand against a wall
Mixed eMotion Theatrix. Photo by Erin Herzog

Mansion revisit

In 2021, Blue 13 Dance Company evoked the energy and exuberance of a South Asian wedding amid the Victorian mansions of Heritage Square. Artistic director Achinta McDaniel and her dancers return to that venue with Soliloquy, another immersive experience. This time, the audience will move about even more, viewing solos in newly opened interiors as well as outside the vintage buildings that have been restored to their prior charms. Shoes for walking and clothing for evening air advised. Heritage Square Museum, 3800 Homer St., Montecito Heights; Fri.-Sat., May 31-June 1, 8 pm, Sun., June 2, 7 pm, $25-$100. Blue 13 Dance.

Dancers with white skirts
Blue 13 Dance Company. Photo by Charlie Kaine Photography

Seeing RED

Artistic director Josie Walsh and the dancers of BalletRED continue with Walsh’s sensual contemporary ballet choreography in Frequency Vol. 3 Royal Matrix. The dancers are augmented by martial artists, aerialists, art installations, plus live music from Paul Rivera and his band. A dance party with a live DJ follows the performance. Athletic Warehouse, 121 Waverly Dr., Pasadena, Fri.-Sat., May 31-June 1, 8 pm show, Sun., June 2, 6 pm, $75. TicketLeap.

A dancer in red bends backwards
BalletRED. Photo courtesy of the artists


In Turkish, simayci means alchemist, those who sought to transform baser metals into gold. Drawing on that word and her Turkish background, choreographer Seda Aybay and her Kybele Dance Theater offer Simayci, seeking to reconnect dancers and the audience with their unself-conscious self, their inner artist. Highways, 1651 18th St, Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., May 31-June 1, 7:30 pm, Sun., June 2, 3 pm, $35, $25 students/seniors. Highways Performance.

A group of dancers
Kybele Dance Theater. Photo by Yoshi Taniyama

Neo-classical pairing

Closing out the first season programmed by artistic director Melissa Barak, Los Angeles Ballet gives a nod to George  Balanchine’s luminous Serenade set to Tchaikovsky along with Firebird set to the Stravinsky score by choreographer Yuri Possokhov. This Firebird premiered at Oregon Ballet Theater while Possokhov was resident choreographer at San Francisco Ballet where the ballet also established itself as a popular part of SFB’s repertoire. LAB brings the program to one last, grand SoCal venue. UCLA Royce Hall, 10745 Dickson Ct., Westwood; Sat., June 1, 2 & 7:30 pm, $76 to $137. Los Angeles Ballet.

A dancer in long blue skirt and partner in darker blue
Los Angeles Ballet. Photo by Cheryl Mann.

Choreographer triptych

The contemporary company BODYTRAFFIC closes its season with a trio of works that showcase the taut technique and vibrant artistry of this LA-based ensemble. In The One to Stay With, choreographers Baye & Asa took their inspiration from Empire of Pain, Patrick Radden Keefe’s plea for community in their chronicle of the toxic greed underlying the opioid crisis. A love story set against the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, Bloquea’o is the new work from dancemaker Joan Rodriguez. Choreographer Matthew Neenan’s A Million Voices set to iconic Peggy Lee vocals adroitly considers the duality of an individual being alone and as part of a group. Avalon Hollywood, 1735 N. Vine St., Hollywood; Thurs., May 29, 7:30 pm, $50. BODYTRAFFIC.

Dancers against a yellow backdrop
BODYTRAFFIC. Photo courtesy of the artists

Dance among the greenery

In two weeks, Backhausdance will offer this year’s new work developed in the environs of the museum and its lush gardens. In the meantime, with museum admission on Tuesday mornings, visitors can watch open rehearsals of Glow/Brillo and see how the new work is progressing. Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana; Tuesdays thru June 4, 10am to 1pm, included in museum admission.  Backhausdance.

Two dancers in a garden
Backhausdance. Photo by Kira Bartoli


Offering an informal workshop performance with guest artist/choreographer Dreya Weber, Luminario Ballet previews Weber’s upcoming work with the company this season. Press material notes limited seating. Brockus Project Dance, 618B Moulton Ave., Lincoln Heights; Fri., May 31, 2 pm, $10. Eventbrite.

An aerialist does splits
Luminario Ballet guest Dreya Weber. Photo by Paul Antico

All that glitters

American Contemporary Ballet artistic director Lincoln Jones has long sought to emulate the legendary ballet choreographer George Balanchine both by bringing in works by Balanchine and in Jones’ own choreography for the company. In his most ambitious and perhaps audacious effort, Jones latest Sapphires, purports to provide a fourth act to Balanchine’s Jewels. Set to Schoenberg’s Suite for Strings, Sapphires can be judged alongside excerpts from La Source, an actual Balanchine ballet. Bank of America Plaza, 333 S. Hope St., C-150, downtown; Thurs.-Sat., 8 pm, June 6-June 29, $60-$140. American Contemporary Ballet.

Two dancers in tutus
American Contemporary Ballet Photo by Will Davidson

Concert prelude

This multi-media event includes exceptional dancers Bernard Brown and Wilfred ‘Willy’ Souly who join a line up of singers, musicians and speakers for a Prelude to June 14th Concert. The event and the holiday celebrates the date a U.S. general forced Texas to comply with the laws emancipating slaves and the broader issues that resonate today. UCLA Royce Hall, 10745 Dickson Court, Westwood; Wed., June 5, 7 pm, free with reservation at AFAM UCLA.

A man stretches
Bernard Brown. Photo courtesy of the artist

Together again

Renewing last year’s successful collaboration with the adventurous Long Beach Opera, choreographer/artistic director Janet Eilber provides original choreographer and the Martha Graham Dance Company provides the movement for the West Coast premiere of IPSA DIXIT. A 2017 finalist for a Pulitzer prize, composer Kate Soper drew on text from philosophers including Aristotle for what the New York Times’ Zachery Woolfe described as ‘playful,’ and an ‘ambitious, ingenious piece.” Art Theatre Long Beach, 2025 E. 4th St., Long Beach; Sat., June 1 & 8, 7:30 pm, Sun., June 9, 2:30 pm, $45-$165, Long Beach Opera.

A man holds a female dancer in red
The Martha Graham Dance Company. Photo by David Bazemore

Watch out for those stairs

Notching a dozen operas choreographed for the LA Opera, Kitty McNamee provides the dance moves for the highly anticipated production of Turandot. This opera always has a staircase. For this production, the sets by artist David Hockney include a zig-zag staircase for the dancers, as well as the singers, to navigate. Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Thurs., May 30, 7:30 pm, Sun., June 2, 2 pm, Wed. & Sat., June 5 & 8, 7:30 pm, $39 to $374. LA Opera.

Acrobats against a red background
LA Opera’s “Turandot.” Photo by Cory Weaver

Octet on the mic

Eight choreographers present ten minutes of new or in progress choreography at the MashUp Contemporary Dance Company series Open Mic. This edition includes an introduction, post performance discussion, and light refreshments. Frogtown Creative Studios, 2926 Gilroy St., Elysian Park; Sat., June 1, 7 pm, $15. MashUp Contemporary Dance Company.

Big blue balls
Max 10. Photo courtesy of the artists

Ten for ten

The mostly monthly program Max 10 gives ten performers ten minutes each onstage. Hosted by venue director Joel Shapiro and curated by the staff, dance is a mainstay in the line up of performances. A post-show reception gives a chance to chat with the artists. Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; Mon., June 3, 7:30 pm, $10. Electric Lodge.

Youthful energy No. 1

Four dancers take the stage among the 14 SoCal high school finalists performing in the Music Center Spotlight Grand Finale. The two finalists in ballet are Amelie Bott-Suzuki and Isabella Howard and in the dance category, Andrea Martínez and Isabella Silver. Other categories include acting, classical and non-classical musicians and vocalists. Now in its 36th year, the program directed by Jeri Gaile draws high schoolers from all over SoCal, winnowed down to the two finalists in each category. Among notable alums, the program boasts singer Josh Groban and ballet’s Misty Copeland. Disney Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Tues., June 4, 7:30 pm, 7 pm, free w/reservation at Music Center.

Youthful energy No. 2

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, California Dance Institute is one of SoCal’s most lauded dance and music programs for underserved youth. Based on the New York City dance education program established by famed New York City Ballet dancer Jacques d’Ambroise, this California version was founded and led by former Joffrey Ballet dancer Carole Vallesky. This benefit concert includes both dance and poetry from the young performers. Wilshire Ebell, 743 S. Lucerne Blvd., Hancock Park; Thurs., May 30, 7 pm, $15-$80 (top ticket includes post performance gala). California Dance Institute.

Three young dancers in blue
The Wooden Floor. Photo courtesy of the artists

Youthful energy No.3

This Orange County-based youth organization began as an after school program for at risk students and soon gained a reputation for its dance component. A change of name to The Wooden Floor did not alter its mission. It continues to boast a 100% high school graduation rate and immediate continuation on to higher education. Notable choreographers are attracted to set their works on these accomplished scholar/dancers, showcased in Onward, the group’s 41st annual concert. Friday’s ticket includes a pre-concert chat with choreographers Tristan Koepke and Momar Ndiaye, moderated by program artistic director Jennifer Bassage Bonfil. The Irvine Barclay, UC Irvine, 4242 Campus Dr. Irvine; Thurs.-Fri., May 30-31, 8 pm, Sat., June 1, 2:30 & 8 pm, $10-$50. The Wooden Floor.

Book to stage

Following up on the burlesque parody, The Empire Strips Back, Russall T Beattie riffs on his coffee table book that tracked Gotham’s caped crusaders in comic books from 1919. What originally was announced as Gotham Follies of 1939, now is billed as Batette Follies of 1939. There will be dancing with vaudeville and burlesque along with irreverent parodies of the times and comic book personalities. Montalban Theatre, 1615 Vine St., Hollywood; Thurs.-Sun., June 6-July 14, 8 pm, $39-$154. Montalban Theatre.

A Peek at Next Week (June 7-13)

Heidi Duckler Dance — Unfurling at the Old LA Zoo, Griffith Park, 4801 Griffith Park Dr., Los Feliz; Sat., June 8, 7 pm, $15. Heidi Duckler.

Backhausdance — Glow/Brillo at the Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana; Sun., June 9, noon, free. Backhausdance.

First Look with Myles Lavallee at the Stomping Ground, 5453 Alhambra Ave., El Sereno; Wed., June 12, 2 pm, $5. LA Contemporary Dance.

Highways’ 35th Birthday with Sean Dorsey Dance at Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., June 7-8, 8:30 pm, $35, $25 seniors/students. Highways Performance.

A group of male dancers in blue
Sean Dorsey Dance. Photo by Lydia Daniller

Mikaela Kai Flamenco — El Jardin del flamenco at the Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro; Sun., June 9, 2 pm, $40.

High Voltage at Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; Fri., June 7, 8 pm,$10. Electric Lodge.

Cabaret Versatile – Ohlala! Nights at Cat’s Crawl, 660 Heliotrope Dr., East Hollywood; Fridays, June 7 thru 28, Eventbrite.

Hollywood Fringe Festival

Devil’s Dice Productions — Death of a Swan at the Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave., Hollywood; Sun., June 9, 8:30 pm, Fri., June 14, 10 pm, Fri., June 21, 8:45 pm, Sun., June 23, 12:45 pm, Sat., June 29, 5:15 pm   Tickets.

DRIP at the Actors Company (Other Space Theater), 916 N. Formosa Ave., Hollywood; Tues., June 11, 8:30 pm, Sat., June 15, 3 pm, Fri., June 21, 11:30 pm, Sat., June 29, 9 pm, Sun., June 30, 5:30 pm, $15. Tickets.

Foxy Ladies Love Boogie 70’s Explosion! at the Three Clubs Stage Room, 1123 N. Vine St., Hollywood; Sun., June 9, 7 pm, Sat., June 15, 8 pm, Sun., June 16, 4:30 pm, Fri., June 21, 10:15 pm, Mon., June 24, 7 pm, $25. Tickets.

Liz Toonkell — Magic for Animals at LGBT Center, Davidson/Valenti Theatre, 1125 N. McFadden Pl., Hollywood; Sat., June 8, 9:30 pm, Thurs., June 13, 8 pm, Sat., June 22, 5 pm, Fri., June 28, 10:30 pm, Sun., June 30, 3:30 pm, $15. Tickets.

Mayuri Bhandari — The Anti “Yogi” at the Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave., Hollywood; Sat., June 8, 4:45 pm, Sun., June 16, 6:30 pm, Thurs., June 20, 7 pm, $15. Tickets.

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