Grass Dancing

Thai dance in Hollywood, flamenco in Silverlake and Orange, ballet in a San Marino garden, pairing wine and contemporary dance in Leimert Park, grassy dancing in Willowbrook, contemporary ballet in East L.A., and more SoCal dance this week.

5.  Ballet in the garden

The musical ensemble MUSE/IQUE hosts a trio of al fresco concerts each summer on the verdant grounds of the Huntington Library and this final concert offers a dance component to the evening of music. The theme is Band/Together with dancers from American Ballet Theater including Stella Abrera, Cory Stearns, Skylar Brandt and Arron Scott in classical and contemporary ballet excerpts. Huntington Library Lawn, 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino; Sat., Aug. 24, 8 p.m., (dining and mingling starts at 6 p.m.), $30-$130.  

American Ballet Theatre's Cory Stearns. Photo courtesy of MUSE/IQUE.
American Ballet Theatre’s Cory Stearns. Photo courtesy of MUSE/IQUE.

4.  Spotlighting LA-based Black dance makers

Established and fast-rising L.A.-based Black choreographers are showcased in Black Dance in LA @WAA performance. Curated by Dance @ The Holden’s Gayle Hooks and JazzAntiqua’s Pat Taylor, the performance is held in conjunction with the opening of the annual Western Arts Alliance conference. Announced choreographers include Willy Souley (Souly Dance Arts), Maura Townsend (Project21Dance), Samantha Blake Goodman (No)one Art House), d. Sabela grimes (ELECTROGYNOUS), Brigette Dunn-Korpela (B. Dunn Movement), Vera Passos (Viver Brasil), and Taylor (JazzAntiqua Dance & Music Ensemble). A 6:30 p.m. reception precedes the dancing. Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4708 W. Washington Blvd., West Adams; Mon., Aug. 26, 8 p.m., free with reservation.

JazzAntiqua Dance & Music Ensemble. Photo courtesy of the artists.
JazzAntiqua Dance & Music Ensemble. Photo courtesy of the artists.

3.  Mr. Rogers meets Mr. Rodgers

In the summer, when most ballet companies are on hiatus, choreographer Raiford Rogers snatches some of the best to bring life to his architectural choreography ideas under the hallmark Raiford Rogers’ Modern Ballet. Last year marked the premiere of his Naivete of Flowers set to the late composer Lloyd Rodgers’ The Little Prince. This year welcomes the second act of Naivete of Flowers also set to that Rodgers score. This year’s dancers include Gustavo Barros, Olivia Sadie Black, Bobby Briscoe, Joshua Brown, Laura Chachich, Chelsea Paige Johnston, Hanna Keene, David Kim, Renee Kim, Celine Kiner, Jasmine Perry, Tigran Sargsyan, and Kristopher Wojtera. Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Cal State University Los Angeles, 5151 State University Dr., East LA; Sat., Aug. 24, 8 p.m., $25-$45.

Raiford Rogers Modern Ballet's Gustavo Barros. Photo by A.Trelease..
Raiford Rogers Modern Ballet’s Gustavo Barros. Photo by A.Trelease..

2.  Buddha tales

In Tales from Mount Sumeru: The Golden Peacock, the reincarnation of Buddha is retold as Mantra Siam brings together dancers from Thailand and Los Angeles. Directed by Zrot Wayuchot, the evening draws on Thai classical dance as well as ballet, modern and jazz dance. This marks the company’s return to this al fresco venue after a ten year absence. Ford Theatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood; Sat., Aug. 24, 8 p.m., $39-$73.  

Mantra Siam in "Tales From Mount Sumeru: The Golden Peacock". Photo courtesy of the artists.
Mantra Siam in “Tales From Mount Sumeru: The Golden Peacock”. Photo courtesy of the artists.

1.  When a stairwell is a stage

Startled hospital workers puzzle over a handful of people climbing around the exterior staircase of the new parking structure like youngsters on playground equipment. One passerby stops to ask the slight blond woman at the staircase base what is going on. Choreographer Heidi Duckler explains that these are dancers exploring the possibilities of the parking structure for a new site specific work being premiered in August. Duckler’s gracious response reflects having fielded such queries over three decades as she, her dancers and their collaborators invade, create and perform in unconventional locations. While her venue specific skills have gained her an international reputation, Duckler’s deepest art may be her ability to draw audiences into L.A.’s cultural archeology, revealing often overlooked history in sites scattered throughout LA’s many communities and then linking the past with often cautionary, sometimes anthem-worthy insights that resonate. This time the site is that stairwell and a grassy parklike area along a side entrance to the Martin Luther King Memorial Hospital where this performance of Stay Awake is part of a two-year HDDT residency. Details on the free performance and free parking at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Hospital; Front Lawn, Wilmington Ave. & 120th St., Willowbrook; Sat., Aug. 24, 7:30 p.m., picnicking at 6 p.m., free with reservation. Free parking in Structure A. 

Heidi Duckler Dance in "Stay Awake". Photo by A.Haskins.
Heidi Duckler Dance in “Stay Awake”. Photo by A.Haskins.

Other dance of note:

Under the banner Idas y Vueltas (roughly translated as return journeys) this edition of the mostly monthly Forever Flamenco features Lakshmi “La Chimi” Basile with guest singer Juan Murube, guitarist Gabriel Osuna, percussionist & guitarist Gerardo Morales, and pianist Mateo Amper. Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Silverlake; Sun., Aug. 25, 8 p.m., $40-$50, $30 students & seniors.

Forever Flamenco's Lakshmi "La Chimi" Basile. Photo by Bruce Bisenz.
Forever Flamenco’s Lakshmi “La Chimi” Basile. Photo by Bruce Bisenz.

This edition of Naranjita Flamenco’s tablao show Flamenco Live spotlights dancers Arleen Hurtado and Misuda Cohen. They get help from singer Bruno Serrano and guitarist Ben Woods. Naranjita Flamenco, 301 E. Katella Ave., Orange; Sun., Aug. 25, 2 p.m., $30 on line, $35 at door.

MashUp Contemporary Dance Company. Photo courtesy of the artists.
MashUp Contemporary Dance Company. Photo courtesy of the artists.

What’s the difference between shame and guilt? Choreographers Sarah Rodenhouse and Victoria Brown set the dancers of MashUp Contemporary Dance Company in search of answers particularly concerning shame and stigma surrounding women’s bodies, health, and relationships.  The dancers in Unravel include Emily Andrews, Shelby Davis, Jade Falkenberg, Nicole Hagen, Hannah Hawkins, Stephanie Heckert, Megan Kenson, Megan Picas, Leah LaGrange and Abigail Ruz. Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri., Aug. 23, 8:30 p.m., $30, $25 students & seniors.

Drawing companies from all over SoCal, Fuse Dance Company offers the sixth edition of the showcase SYNTHESIS. Announced companies and performers, mostly contemporary dance, include Alexander Caballero, Jana Taylor + Dancers, Adrien Padilla, Samuel DeAngelo & Katie Natwick. Goblin Party USA, Michelle Shear, Emily Ploense, plus Francesca Lee & Simon Harrison. Curtis Theatre, 1 Civic Center Circle, Brea; Sat., Aug. 24, 8 p.m., Sun., Aug. 25, 5 p.m., $20.

FUSE Dance Company. Photo courtesy of the artists.
FUSE Dance Company. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Within the dance community, the semi-monthly series Congress aspires to provide a level playing field where known choreographers and those starting out get equal billing and equal time. Swimming against the tide of performers and choreographers being induced to work for free on vague promises of exposure, performers are paid. This week the participants include Rebecah Goldstone, Sauson Rec, Boy Boi, Jen Rose, Kat Burns, Tucker Barkely, Mayte Valdes + Carlos Barrionuevo, and Sam McReynolds. Sweatspot, 3327 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Fri.-Sun., Aug. 23-25, 8 p.m., $25.

Congress. Photo courtesy of the artists.
Congress. Photo courtesy of the artists.

It was bound to happen. Following in the footsteps of cheese/wine pairings and chocolate/wine pairings, this fundraiser for Project21Dance offers A Pairing of the Arts: A Dance and Wine Pairing. Selected wines will be paired with curated dances from the company repertoire. Regency West, 3339 W. 43rd St., Leimert Park; Sun., Aug. 25, 2 p.m., $50.

JAM Sessions. Photo courtesy of the Ford Theatre.
JAM Sessions. Photo courtesy of the Ford Theatre.

This week’s JAM Session offers a preview of next week’s Urban Bush Women main stage performance. Marjani Forté-Saunders, one of the company’s alumna who is now an L.A.-based choreographer employs the hip-hop circle formation known as a cypher for a session of improvisation and expression. As the summer winds down, this series still has a few more free dance classes that dance participants around the world without leaving town. A full list and locations at the website. Ford Theatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood; Mon., Aug. 19, 7 p.m., free.

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