Dancing Downtown History

Site specific excursions into downtown’s past; Leonard Cohen ballets in Irvine; South Asian dance in Glendale; contemporary choreography in Santa Monica, Culver City, Glendale, El Sereno, and the Arts District; swans swarm in San Diego and Long Beach, a classic novel as ballet in Montecito; illness postponed tour resumes in Riverside and San Diego; more So Cal dance this week, and a peek at next week.

Live This Week

Canadian love dances

Never underestimate how a popular songwriter can draw audiences to a dance concert. For Ballets Jazz de Montréal, the artistic director Louis Robitaille recruited three in-demand choreographers to set roughly 16 songs by Canadian balladeer Leonard Cohen for Dance Me. The results from the trio of dancemakers–Andonis Foniadakis, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Ihsan Rustem–are on view at the last of three SoCal tour stops. Be warned, the show is almost sold out. Irvine Barclay, UC Irvine, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine; Fri., May 17, 8 pm, $30-$120. Irvine Barclay.

a woman in a white shirt and a man in a black hat
Ballets Jazz de Montréal. Photo courtesy of the artists

What a ride

To close out this venue’s always provocative dance series, curator Jamie Nichols brings the inimitable Malathi Iyengar and the dancers of Rangoli Dance Company with a program of South Asian Bharatanatyam dance choreographed by Iyengar. The program title, Vahanas: God’s Own Vehicles, references the animal vehicles that provide transport to deities in Hindi tradition. The dancers are Amulya Ananth, Sheila Aula, Shivani Aysola, Vyshnavi Aysola, Natasha Bhogal, Sonal Dyavarshetty, Ritika Iyer, Sweta Joseph, Pritika Nekkanti, Anya Prasad, and Nishitha Viswanathan. Brand Library & Art Center, 1601 W. Mountain St., Glendale; Sat., May 18, 5 pm, free. Brand Library.

Three dancers in blue
Rangoli Dance Company. Photo by George Simian

Once home to a newspaper

The exterior of the architecturally arresting Herald Examiner Building once housed LA’s Hearst-owned newspaper that the company closed in 1989 after a strike. The Herald Examiner building, along with the interior of the LA Proper Hotel, provide the latest grist for the site-specific Heidi Duckler Dance in Herald in, Examine Through. An assemblage of of 20 dancers, musicians, librettists, actors, and others take the audience on an exploration of a stretch of downtown that captures the city’s history, its ongoing evolution, and its struggles with economic disparity. As with most HDD events, comfortable shoes and clothes are strongly advised. Along Broadway Street between 11th and 12th Streets, downtown; Sat., May 18, 7 pm, $80. Heidi Duckler Dance.

A woman in a red dress leaps off of a ladder
Heidi Duckler Dance. Photo courtesy of the artists

Episodic ballet

The Victorian houses of Heritage Square were built decades after the Civil War era homes depicted in Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women, but they are close enough to provide a historical atmosphere for choreographer Emma Andres’ ongoing series of site-specific ballet episodes that promise to build to a full-length Little Women Ballet. Presented in partnership with Pasadena Civic Ballet, this event includes live music with the performance moving among the Heritage Square houses, post performance folk dancing, refreshments, and photos with the cast.  Heritage Square Museum, 3800 Homer St., Montecito Heights; Fri., May 17, 6:30 pm, Sat.-Sun., May 18 &19, 3 & 6:30 pm, $60. Details at Little Women Ballet. Tickets at Small Venue Ticketing.

A couple dance in old fashioned room
Little Women Ballet. Photo courtesy of the artists

How humans are doing

The eight dancers of the G.U.M. Collective essay Genna Moroni’s choreographic consideration of the human condition in calling from the void. Moroni danced with BODYTRAFFIC and Ate9 before founding her own company Gorgeous Ugly Movement, nicknamed G.U.M. Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa  Monica; Fri.-Sun., May 17-19, 8:30 pm, $30-$50. Highways Performance Space.

Two dancers in white
G.U.M. Collective’s Genna Moroni. Photo by Silvia Grav


Some of the danceworks developed by Jessie Lee Thorne during her tenure as MashUp Contemporary Dance Company’s 2024 Artist in Resident will be on display in Anarcha, a works in progress showing. Stomping Ground, 5453 Alhambra Ave., El Sereno; Sat., May 18, 8 pm, $15. ANARCHA by MashUp Contemporary Dance Company.

A group of dancers in grey lean
Jessie Lee Thorne. Photo by David Orr

A shifting three 

Two different programs, each with a work by Janie Taylor and two from artistic director Benjamin Millepied are part of LA Dance Project’s Spring Dances. Both programs include Me, You, We, They, Millepied’s newest set to music by his frequent collaborator Nico Muhly. Both programs also include the premiere of Taylor’s Sleepwalker’s Encyclopedia with a set designed by artist Ben Styer. Millepied’s Moving Parts completes Program A, alternating with Triade in Program B. LA Dance Project, 2245 E. Washington Blvd., Arts District; Program B- Fri., May 17, Program A- Sat., May 18, 8 pm, $45, $30 students & seniors. LA Dance Project.

A dancer on floor bends back
Los Angeles Dance Project. Photo courtesy of the artists

Back on tour

Postponed from the originally scheduled tour dates due to his wife’s illness, she is better and Dancing With the Stars’ Derek Hough is ready to resume Symphony of Dance. With his most recent Emmy nomination, Hough surpassed Debbie Allen for most Emmy nominations for television choreography. Audiences who know him from tv now can see what he can do on the concert stage. Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside; Fri., May 17, 7pm, $49-$125. Also at the Rady Shell, Jacobs Park, 222 Marina Park Way, San Diego; Sun., May 19, 7:30 pm, $42-$62.  Derek Hough.

A barefoot man dances
Derek Hough. Photo courtesy of the artist

Museum peek

In a few 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

Swans aflutter

There will be feathers as World Ballet’s touring production of Swan Lake makes two SoCal stops. Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., San Diego; Fri., May 17, 7 pm, Sat., May 18, 6 pm, $55-$145. Also at Terrace Theater, Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Ave., Long Beach; Sun., May 19, 2 pm, $50-$125. World Ballet.

A dancer in black leaps before dancers in white and black tutus
World Ballet. Photo courtesy of the artists

Getting to be regulars

Making their fourth appearance at this venue, Louise Reichlin & Dancers return with a program of modern dance choreography by Jill Elaine Collins, McKnnly Moren, and Reichlin. Culver City Senior Center, 4095 Overland Ave., Culver City; Sat., May 18, 1:30 pm, free. LA Choreographers and Dancers.

A dancer in white
Louise Reichlin & Dancers. Photo by George Simian

Traveling dance

The nomadic dancers of Benita Bike’s DanceArt return to a favorite venue with a program of solos, duets and trios. The event includes a chance for the audience to chat about the dances with the artists. La Crescenta Library, 2809 Foothill Blvd., Glendale; Sat., May 18, 2 pm, free. Benita Bike’s DanceArt.

A woman stands in front of a group
Benita Bike’s DanceArt. Photo courtesy of the artist

Classic to contemporary

The students of the respected Westside Ballet perform classical and contemporary works in Masters of Movement. The Saturday gala performance also features guest artists including principal dancers Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside from American Ballet Theatre. The BroadStage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Fri., May 17, 7 pm & Sat., May 18, 1 & & 6:30 pm, $45, Sat., May 18, 6:30 pm, $195 includes 5pm reception and 8 pm dinner/gala.  Westside Ballet tickets.

Two dancers jump
Isabella Boylston & James Whitesides. Photo by Nisian Hughes courtesy of Kimberly Gianelli PR

Dinner dance

Choreographer Megan Paradowski introduces her company Empara in Well Done, An Immersive Dining Experience. The ticket price includes a 3-course dinner, gratuity, and the show. Melody Wine Bar, 751 Virgil Ave., East Hollywood; Mon., May 20, 7 pm, $124. Well Done.

A woman in white dances with a woman in black
Megan Paradowski of Empara. Photo by Taso Papadakis.

A Peek at Next Week (05-24 to 30)

Primera Generación Dance Collective & Showbox — (de) Color Es 2024 at LINT Space, 1611 S. Hope St., downtown; Sat., May 25, 5. $15-$20. Eventbrite.

Los Angeles Ballet — Firebird & Serenade at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Redondo Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., May 25, 2 & 7:30 pm. Also at UCLA Royce Hall, 10745 Dickson Ct., Westwood; Sat., June 1, 2 & 7:30 pm, $76 to $137. Los Angeles Ballet.

BODYTRAFFIC — In Pursuit of Joy at 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

California Dance Institute — Poetry in Motion The Power of Words at the Wilshire Ebell, 743 S. Lucerne Blvd., Hancock Park; Thurs., May 30, 7 pm, $15-$80 (top ticket includes post performance gala). California Dance Institute.

Versa-Style Next Generation — Annual Culmination Showcase at Mihran K Studios,5437 Satsuma Ave., No. Hollywood; Sat., May 25, 3 pm, $5 suggest donation. Versa-Style Dance.

The Wooden Floor — Onward at the Irvine Barclay, UC Irvine, 4242 Campus Dr. Irvine; Thurs.-Fri., May 30-31, 8 pm, Sat., June 1, 2:30 & 8 p, $10-$50. The Wooden Floor.


For several years, Invertigo Dance Theatre and its program Dancing through Parkinson’s have been deeply involved in the practical neuro-focused benefits of dance classes designed for those with that condition. Partnering with LA County Department of Mental Health and Crenshaw Yoga & Dance, this Wellness Weekend 2024 devotes two full days to free movement classes, mental health and wellness resources. Although designed for those with Parkinson’s, the weekend’s sample dance classes and chair yoga are open to anyone with or without the neurological conditions or mobility challenges that are part of Parkinson’s. Workshop details at website. Crenshaw Yoga & Dance: 5426 Crenshaw Blvd., Creshaw; Fri., May 17, 1-5 pm, Sat., May 18, noon-5 pm, free with reservation at Invertigo Dance Theatre.

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