Exploring The Borderlands of Cultural Appropriation

An iconic seductress in Redondo Beach and Thousand Oaks, dance across from a battleship in San Pedro, romance and racism at the San Gabriel mission where the story is set, a collaborative exploration of cultural appropriation in Santa Monica, flamenco in Silverlake and Long Beach, and more SoCal dance this week.

5.  Dancing at the port

Louise Reichlin and her eponymous dance troupes (Louise Reichlin & Dancers and LA Choreographers & Dancers) again host free performances over the two day San Pedro Festival of the Arts. Participants are a mix of professional, student and community troupes including Firuze Dance Company, Megill & Company, San Pedro City Ballet, White Crane Dance Theatre, Degas Dance Company, Jrick & the Hot Flashers, the host company plus more. Arts, crafts and food trucks start at 11 a.m., performances start at 1 p.m. Performance schedule and a complete performance line up at http://www.lachoreographersanddancers.org. and  https://triartsp.com. Port of Los Angeles (opposite the Battleship Iowa), 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro; Sat.-Sun., Sept. 22-23, 1 p.m., free. https://triartsp.com.

Firuze Dance Company at San Pedro ♥ Festival of the Arts. Photo courtesy of the artists.
Firuze Dance Company at San Pedro ♥ Festival of the Arts. Photo courtesy of the artists.

4.  Flamenco eternal

The mostly monthly and always compelling Forever Flamenco returns with dancers Alexandra Rozo and Mizuho Sato, dancer/singer Manuel Gutierrez, guitarist Andres Vadin, and cajon Diego Alvarez. Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Silverlake; Sun., Sept. 23, 8 p.m., $40-$50, $30 seniors & students. 323-663-1525 or http://fountaintheatre.com.

Forever Flamenco's Manuel Gutierrez. Photo courtesy of Patrick Rogers & Juan Ocampo.
Forever Flamenco’s Manuel Gutierrez. Photo courtesy of Patrick Rogers & Juan Ocampo.

3.  A gypsy seductress

That irrepressible gypsy siren and symbol of all things passionate and seductive, Carmen, is the centerpiece of Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre’s new full length ballet. Bizet may have composed the familiar opera score, but Rodion Shehedrin rearranged the music used here. Tampering with Bizet is less audacious than it may seem, Shehedrin was married to Russian prima ballerina Maya Plisetskaya who practically owned the role. PBDT director Natasha Middleton’s version tours two venues this weekend with Elen Harutyunyan dancing Carmen, Gregori Arakelyan as the soldier who abandons his post to possess her, and Preston Swovelin as the matador who vies for her attention. Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach; Sat., Sept. 22, 8 p.m., $36-$60. https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3376012.  Also at Scherr Forum Theatre, Thousand Oaks Civic Plaza, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks; Sun., Sept. 23, 6 p.m., $45-$65. https://www1.ticketmaster.com/pacific-ballet-dance-theatre-presents-carmen-thousand-oaks-california-09-23-2018/event/0B00548ADE8A3C7D?artistid=2491404&majorcatid=10002&minorcatid=12&f_klarna_flex_pay=true&ab=m_efeat5852v1.

Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre's "Carmen". Photo courtesy of PBDT.
Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre’s “Carmen”. Photo courtesy of PBDT.

2.  Romance and racism in California missions

Based on the 1884 story by Helen Hunt Jackson, a dramatization of Ramona was a regular pageant at the San Gabriel Mission for many decades and became something of a branding tool for the romantic ideal of early California. Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre with its band of dancers, musicians, actors and performers descend on this site that figures prominently in the Jackson story for The Story of Ramona. Choreographer Duckler combines the troupe’s site-specific chops with dance, American music and contemporary considerations of female empowerment and racial discrimination that interlace with the romanticism in this timeless coming of age tale. Details on related show events at https://www.Heidi Duckler.org. San Gabriel Mission Playhouse, 320 S. Mission Dr., San Gabriel; Sun., Sept. 23, 7 p.m., $50, & students, $15 youth. https://missionplayhouse.org/event/ramona-after-dark.

Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre's "The Story of Ramona". Photo by Mae Koo.
Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre’s “The Story of Ramona”. Photo by Mae Koo.

1.  Crossing cultural boundaries

Choreographers rayven armijo and Paola Escobar each helm their own companies but join forces to cross urban borderlines for a Dual Perspective. An alum of the respected Grandeza Mexicana Mexican Folk Ballet and veteran of Season 4 of So You Think You Can Dance, armijo brings an eclectic background in ballet, contemporary and folklóric dance to her urban urban folklórico troupe Cuerva. By contrast, Columbian choreographer Escobar and her Borderline Movements draw on elements of flamenco, African and Latin American dance. The choreographers and their dancers tackle issues of appropriating Latin American and Hispanic cultural traditions as well as exploring current social and political issues. Lots of provocative and topical elements combined in one collaborative concert. Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., Sept. 21-22, 8:30 p.m., $20.  https://highwaysperformance.org.

rayven armijo's Cueva. Photo by E. Moncada.
rayven armijo’s Cueva. Photo by E. Moncada.

          Other dance of note: 

Song and dance from Broadway is the theme of Inland Pacific Ballet’s cabaret performance and fundraiser Some Enchanted Evening—A Night of Broadway Song & Dance. Actor Patrick Cassidy headlines the evening with members of the ballet company led by Victoria Koenig. Inland Pacific Ballet, 9061 Central Ave., Montclair; Sat., Sept. 22, 6 p.m., $95, $50 youth and teens. 909-482-1590, http://ipballet.org.

The 20 choreographers working in this edition of Carnival Choreographers Ball Los Angeles who generally work in video, music and film, offer samples of their dance visions in live performance. Look for work from Nina McNeely, Melody Lacayanga, Michele Soulchild, Beau Fournier ft Rogue Makers, Cameron Lee, Cat Cogliandro, Superdave, Karon Lynn, Jared Jenkins, Jay Chris Moore, Allyssa Sniff, Nick Pauley, Jason Santana, Adam Burt, Danyel Moulton/VMo, Rev the Servant, Imprint Dance Co, and Carey Ysais/The Ladies in Lace. Avalon Hollywood, 1735 N. Vine St., Hollywood; Mon., Sept. 24, doors open 9 p.m., $17 over age 21, $27 age 18-21. http://www.choreographerscarnival.com/.

This venue celebrates a quarter century providing an evening of Spanish food and flamenco with dancers Claudia Moren and Jennifer “La Yeni” Larson, plus singer Antonio de Jerez and guitarist Borislav Solakov. Café Sevilla, 140 Pine Ave., Long Beach; Sat., Sept. 22, 7 p.m., $59. http://cafesevilla.com/long-beach-flamenco.

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