Forbidden/Poison Fruit

Dances “coast” around Santa Monice, a Hindu epic retold in Hollywood, bi-pride in Echo Park, Chinese cirque in Costa Mesa, contemporary cutting edge take turns downtown, a Cumberbatch character dances (hint: it is not Sherlock Holmes), and more SoCal dance this week.

5.  A matter of want

In 2016, the art world was taken a bit aback when the $100,000 Mohn Award for artistic excellence did not go to a visual artist, but to choreographer Adam Linder. Described by the Hammer museum award announcement as “the choreographic equivalent of a film editor, creating an assemblage of occasions phrases, postures, and poses”, Linder is not a run of the mill dance maker. In his latest, The Want, Linder takes inspiration from mercantile archetypes in Bernard Marie-Koltès’ play In the Solitude of The Cotton Fields. The dancers, singers and actors are Jess Gadani, Justin F. Kennedy, Jasmine Orpilla and Roger Sala Reyner. REDCAT at Walt Disney Hall, 631 W. 2nd St., downtown; Thurs.-Sat., Sept. 19-21, 8:30 p.m., Sun., Sept. 22, 7 p.m., $35, $28 students.

Adam Linder's "The Want." Photo by Andrea Rossetti.
Adam Linder’s “The Want.” Photo by Andrea Rossetti.

4.  Dancing to the coast

Among the various activities offered at Coast, Santa Monica’s open streets fest, look for dance events including a Mobile Dance Brigade facilitated by dance artist Christine Suarez with drummers along a route leading to the Santa Monica pier. Souly Dance Arts also boasts live music along Main Street between City Hall and the Colorado Esplanade, while costumed monsters from Beck and Col’s are slated along Ocean Avenue between Broadway and Santa Monica Blvd. Details on times and locations on these and an array of other events including free pre-event workshops at City of Santa Monica, various locations in a two mile area around Main Street, Ocean Avenue and the Colorado Esplanade; Sun., Sept. 15, various times, free.

Souly Dance Arts. Photo courtesy of the artists.
Souly Dance Arts. Photo courtesy of the artists.

3.   The last part of three

REDCAT, CalArts’ cutting edge presence downtown, opens its 2019-2020 performance season with choreographer Ligia LewisWater Will (in Melody). This third section of a trilogy opens with pastoral sounds as Lewis leads viewers into a deconstructed grim fairy tale about a misbehaving or maybe just lonely child. Dominican Republic-born Lewis grew up in Florida and now divides her time between New York and Berlin, picking up a New York Bessie award along the way. With performers (including Lewis) garbed in sharply contrasting white and black, the work incorporates voice and gesture along with the movement to tell the tale. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., downtown; Thurs.-Sat., Sept. 12-14, 8:30 p.m., Sun., Sept 15, 3 p.m., $27-$32, $22-$26. 

Ligia Lewis' "Water Will." Photo courtesy of the artist.
Ligia Lewis’ “Water Will.” Photo courtesy of the artist.

2.  An Indian epic retold

Hanuman, a notorious Hindu god in the struggle of good versus evil, plays a central role in Son of the Wind, a retelling of India’s epic the Ramayana by the kathak dance company Leela Dance Collective. This Los Angeles premiere brings an all-female cast to the male and female characters under the direction of Seibi Lee, Rachna Nivas and Rina Mehta, all three trained by the late Pandit Chitresh Das, a kathak master credited with establishing the classical South Asian dance in the U.S. More about the company and the story at Ford Theatre, 2850 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood; Sat., Sept. 14, 8 p.m., $35-$55, $25-$45 students.

Leela Dance Collective in "Son of the Wind. Photo courtesy of the artists.
Leela Dance Collective in “Son of the Wind. Photo courtesy of the artists.

1.  Was it in the apple?

Years before Benedict Cumberbatch brought him to wide public attention in the film The Imitation Game, choreographer Laura Karlin was fascinated with the mathematical genius Alan Turing. The upstart brainiac’s work in World War II broke the presumed unbreakable code of the German’s enigma machine, but his life carved a tragic arc from celebrated genius to prosecution, shaming and a sentence of chemical castration for being homosexual. Karlin particularly was struck by Turing’s fascination with Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, his favorite film during his life that had an unnerving parallel with his death by cyanide poisoning, a half eaten apple found beside him that was not tested for poison. Excerpts have tantalized at local festivals. Now Karlin and her Invertigo Dance Theatre unveil the entire Formulae and Fairy Tales, the opening event of this prestigious venue’s dance season. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., Sept. 13-14, 7:30 p.m., $49-$79. 

Invertigo Dance Theatre's "Formulae and Fairy Tales." Photo by Joe Lambie.
Invertigo Dance Theatre’s “Formulae and Fairy Tales.” Photo by Joe Lambie.

  Other dance of note:

Just in case Heidi Duckler and her band of dancers, actors, singers, musicians and visual artists haven’t been busy enough, the choreographer and her Heidi Duckler Dance launch Move Me, a portable performance site, i.e. a “dancemobile” that will travel SoCal with a combo of HDD’s signature site specific performance and educational residencies. One of the themes is the dancers’ personal journeys as a prism to consider social mobility and economic equality. The series opener is at Center for Early Education, 563 N. Alfred St., West Hollywood; Tues., Sept. 17, 2 p.m., free with reservation at

Heidi Duckler Dance's "Move Me." Photo by Sean Deckert.
Heidi Duckler Dance’s “Move Me.” Photo by Sean Deckert.

The annual San Pedro ♥ Festival of the Arts is next weekend, but five of the participants offer a free preview of festival’s dance events. Announced performers include White Crane Dance Theatre, CalliOpus Contemporary Dance, Nivedita SV & Anusha G plus host company Louise Reichlin & Dancers. Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro; Sat., Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m., free.

Louise Reichlin & Dancers. Photo courtesy of the artists.
Louise Reichlin & Dancers. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Dance and a dance party are part of this bi-pride event dubbed Unicorn pARTy. Look for dance directed by Kai Hazelwood based on recorded stories from bi+ people. Details on the event and performers at Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Dr., Echo Park; Sat., Sept. 14, 5 p.m., $20-$25.

Kai Hazelwood. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Kai Hazelwood. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The U.S. and China may be in a growing trade war, but China is still exporting acrobatic cirque troupes such as Cirque Mei from the Hebei province. The company arrives on tour with some of that country’s most popular acts. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Sat., Sept. 14, 8 p.m., Sun., Sept. 15, 2 p.m., $29-$89.

The latest program in the Masters of Dance series offers a chance to take or just watch a master class conducted by an admirable line up of dance pros. This installment brings Bryn Cohn artistic director of his eponymous Bryn Cohn + Artists with with a class covering crafted and improvisational exercises leading to gestural phrasework. Participants are requested to wear black on black dancewear. Those coming to watch can wear what they want. Santa Monica College Core Performance Center (CPC), 1900 Pico Blvd., Rooms 304 and 308, Santa Monica; Thurs., Sept. 19, 12:30 p.m., free but first come until full.  

Bauhaus Beginnings. Photo by A.L. Haskins.
Bauhaus Beginnings. Photo by A.L. Haskins.

Born in 1919 amid the human and physical debris of World War I, Bauhaus is widely hailed as an influential school of architecture and design, but an often overlooked facet is the part dance played in its curriculum and later on, its role in Bauhaus’ survival when under siege by the Nazis. The Getty’s Research Institute’s two-part deep dive into the world of Bauhaus includes a physical exhibition Bauhaus Beginnings (to October 13) along with an on-line exhibition Bauhaus Building the New Artist that offers a chance to participate in three Bauhaus-style endeavors including selecting movement, costume and music to choreograph a dance. At the physical exhibition, dance fans should seek out the darkened alcove with photos, programs, and other memorabilia. Videos of recreated Bauhaus dance performances reveal how the integration of craft and fine art were captured in movement. Mostly created in the 1920’s, the movement admittedly is dated, but for its time was considered experimental. Some costumes are reminiscent of Pablo Picasso’s creations for the 1917 Ballet Russes ballet Parade and even today could appear as part of the popular Swiss human puppet troupe Mummenschanz. While ultimately the school closed and Bauhaus figures were among the Nazi victims, ironically instead of Bauhaus’ destruction the Nazi persecution inadvertently propelled its influence. The exhibit includes a section on the Bauhaus diaspora which has a dance element in North Carolina’s Black Mountain College where major Bauhaus figures were faculty and whose students included Merce Cunningham and John Cage. The college closed in 1957, but a book in the museum store recounts its history and how the founders’ ideas on progressive education fused with the Bauhaus philosophy. Bauhaus Beginnings  Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Dr., Brentwood; thru October 13, 2019, Tues.-Fri., Sun., 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m. -10 p.m., free, parking price varies. Bauhaus Building the New Artist- online

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