Driving into BODYTRAFFIC

Contemporary dance in new digs downtown, gypsy flamenco in Silverlake, ballet from top notch training companies in Santa Monica and Irvine, a 10th anniversary confluence of choreographers in Beverly Hills, and more SoCal dance this week.

5. Continuing the tradition

Founded by Yvonne Mounsey from New York City Ballet and Rosemary Valaire from Britain’s Royal Ballet, Westside Ballet continues the revered late founders’ training traditions including an annual spring concert with the pre-professional students performing selections from classical and contemporary ballets as well as a bit of jazz. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Sun., May 27, 1 & 5 p.m., $35. http://www.WestsideBallet.com.

Long Beach Ballet's "Coppelia". Photo courtesy of LBB.
Long Beach Ballet’s “Coppelia”. Photo courtesy of LBB.

4. A ballet with a happy ever after

David Wilcox’ respect training company Long Beach Ballet presents its full length Coppelia with a live orchestra. More than 250 students perform in this tale of a young village lass whose beau is infatuated with a mysterious girl who sits reading on the balcony of the house belonging to the eccentric Dr. Coppélius. Terrace Theater, Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; Sat.-Sun., May 26-27, 2 p.m., $38-$48. http://www.longbeachballet.com.

Forever Flamenco's Wendy Castellanos. Photo courtesy of Forever Flamenco.
Forever Flamenco’s Wendy Castellanos.
Photo courtesy of Forever Flamenco.

3. Everlasting flamenco

Gypsy flamenco takes the stage in Gala Flamenca: Arte de Verano, this month’s edition of the long-running Forever Flamenco. Dancers Cristina Hall, Wendy Castellanos, Manuel Gutierrez and Alexandra Rozo are joined by singer José Cortes, percussionist Gerardo Morales, plus guitarists Kai Narezo and Antonio Triana. The Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Silverlake; Sun., May 27, 8 p.m., $40-$50, $30 students & seniors. http://www.fountaintheatre.com.

2. 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 two weekends of 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 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.-Sun., May 24-27, Thurs.-Sat., May 31-June 2, 8 p.m., $25, $20 students. https://www.artful.ly/la-dance-project.

LA Dance Project's "Graham Duets". Photo by James Welling.
LA Dance Project’s “Graham Duets”. Photo by James Welling.

1. 10th anniversary season finale

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 Richard Siegal 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, http://www.thewallis.org.

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

Other dance of note:

Omar Ceja’s Act 1 Dance Company brings and evening-length work danced by Omar Ceja, Christine DePalmo, Sonya Randall and guest Cabrillo Dance Company. Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri., May 25, 8:30 p.m., $20, $15 students & seniors. http://www.highwaysperformance.org.

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. http://www.thebarclay.org, http://www.TheWoodenFloor.org/UnifyingCatalysts.

Heartbeat of Mexico. Photo by Daniel Reyes.
Heartbeat of Mexico.
Photo by Daniel Reyes.

Now in its third year, the free outdoor festival Heartbeat of Mexico returns. The varied regions of Mexico are again celebrated with dance, music and vocal groups on three different stages throughout the afternoon. Performers include local student and professional groups. A complete list and approximate times of events at http://www.muscocenter.org. Musco Center for the Arts, Chapman University, 415 N. Glassell, Orange. Sun., May 27, 1 to 7:45 p.m., free. http://www.muscocenter.org.

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