LA Dance Festival on the Fringe

This busy week’s SoCal dance events include the LA Dance Festival in Lincoln Heights, a trio of homegrown troupes in Echo Park, social experiment dance in a Chesterfield Park warehouse, more site specific dance in Culver City, opera danced in North Hollywood, a legendary master in Beverly Hills and a young master in Santa Monica.

  1. Who needs words with that music?

Artistic director Natasha Middleton and her Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre blend ballet and flamenco as they turn Bizet’s opera Carmen into dance theater. Grigori Arakelyan is the besotted soldier Don Jose, Damara Titmus his adoring childhood friend Micaela, Jekyns Pelaez the flamboyant matador Escamillo and Elen Harutunyan the irresistible seductress Carmen. More details at . El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Sat., May 6, 7:30 p.m., $40-$50, 818-508-4200, Photo courtesy of AIM Photo courtesy of AIM.
  1. Appreciating his many facets

To appreciate the many facets of Kyle Abraham that garnered a MacArthur Fellow “genius” award, it helps to keep in mind his choreography draws on an eclectic background in piano, classical cello, visual art and hip hop. Abraham’s work was recently on view when Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performed his Untitled America as part of its Music Center performances. Abraham and his own company Abraham.In.Motion return with three California premieres The Quiet Dance (2011), Absent Matter (2015) and The Getting’ (2014). The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Fri., May 5, 7:30 p.m., Sat., May 6. 7:30 p.m., $45-95. 310-434-3200,

Paul Taylor Dance Company Photo by Paul B Goode
Paul Taylor Dance Company. Photo by Paul B Goode.
  1. What becomes a legend most

Legendary choreographer Paul Taylor’s oeuvre currently hovers around 140 dances, continually increasing around two new dances per year. His choreography can be seen on major modern dance and ballet companies over all over the world, but there remains something special, almost a heightened sense of the organic, when performed by dancers Taylor groomed and coached in his eponymous Paul Taylor Dance Company. Taylor and his N.Y.C.-based company arrive with a program that includes Syzygy, The Word, and Esplanade, offering a tasting menu of the master’s work. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Arts, Bram Goldberg Theatre, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Fri.-Sat., May 5-6, 8 p.m., Sun., May 7, 2 p.m., $79-$99. 310-746-4000,

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B Dunn Movement in Homegrown Photo courtesy of BDM
B Dunn Movement in Homegrown. Photo courtesy of BDM.
  1. Locavore dance

Three companies share the stage for the latest installment of the admirable Homegrown series showcasing SoCal-based dance. This edition’s participants include Brigette Dunn-Korpela and her B. Dunn Movement, Sophia Kozak of Critical Mass Dance Company and Zoe Rappaport and her Rappaport Dance.  Details at Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., Echo Park; Thurs.-Sat., May 4-6, 7:30 p.m., $20 in advance, $25 at door.

BrockusRED at L.A. Dance Festival Photo by Denise Leitner
BrockusRED at L.A. Dance Festival. Photo by Denise Leitner.
  1. LA Dance Fest—week 2 on the “fringe” For its 5th edition, the LA Dance Festival has gone on steroids, expanding to three weeks with a bumper crop of 45 choreographers spread over seven shows at two venues. The festival is well established as the go-to place to catch up with established and emerging local dance, but this year producer Deborah Brockus has assembled an expanded roster with a mega-dose of the big name local companies and choreographers. Master classes and centralized company auditions actually launched the festival last weekend, but this weekend begins the Fringe performance component at the festival’s traditional home near downtown and next week the action moves to West LA for the Main Stage shows. Complete festival info at Diavolo Performance Space at the Brewery, 616 Moulton Ave., Lincoln Heights; Fri., May 5, 8:30 p.m., Sat., May 6, 7 & 9:30 p.m., Sun., May 7, 6 & 8 p.m.; $25-$30. Also at Theater Raymond Kabbaz (TRK), 10361 W. Pico Blvd., West LA; Thurs., May 11, 7:30 p.m., Fri.-Sat., May 12-13, 8 p.m., Sun., May 14, 6 p.m., $25-$40.

Other dance of note:

When it was built, the Neutra Studio and Residences captured the essence of architect Richard Neutra’s LA aesthetic with the building backdropped by the water of the Silverlake reservoir and surrounded by empty hills. Today the house, also known as VDL Research House looks out on an empty reservoir and hills chockablock with housing. It’s the latest venue for the itinerant band of dancers and performers who comprise HomeLA. In collaboration with the site, a clutch of dancers and artists including Bernard Brown, Morgan Green, Ashaki M. Jackson, Douglas Kearney, Mak Kern, Mona Tavakoli, Cary Gallagher, Emily Marchand, Emily Meister, Wendy C. Ortiz, Andrew Pearson, Priyanka Ram, Erin Schneider, Willy Souly and Emerson Whitney take over the space for OneHouseTwice considering the venue’s distinctive architectural history that led to its recent designation as a National Historic Landmark. Address provided with reservation; Sat., May 6, 4 p.m.. $20.

HomeLA Photo courtesy of HomeLA
HomeLA. Photo courtesy of HomeLA.

A sneak peek at a new collaboration with spoken word artist Jason Chu and repertoire works highlight this Clairobscur Dance Company event. Choreographer Laurie Sefton and her dancers are known for insightful considerations of large issues always performed with commitment and polish. The event is a fundraiser for next season and the gallery venue has also pledged a portion of any sales to the fundraising effort. LaunchLA Gallery, 170 S. LaBrea Ave., Hancock Park; Sun., May 7, 2:30 p.m., $40.


The site specific masters at Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre continue with the second part of 1988, a four part performance series employing the city’s public art collection as venues to celebrate the centennial of Culver City’s founding and the 1988 city legislation that led to the public art now providing the setting for Duckler and her troupe’s engaging antics. This installment is Punctuation Station. Performances are free with a reservation. Details on the other parts of 1988 at Westfield Mall Culver City (formerly Fox Hills Mall), 6000 Sepulveda Blvd. Culver City, Sun., May 7, 5:30 p.m., free with required reservation at

Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre Photo by Mae Koo
Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre. Photo by Mae Koo.

Drawing dancers and dancemakers from Cal Arts 2016 graduating class under the guidance of choreographers Stephan Koplowitz and Laurence Blake, The Next Dance Company offers a program of new dance including work by guest artist Zoe Scofield. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., downtown; Fri.-Sat., May 5-6, 8:30 p.m., $20, $16 students. 213-237-2800,

The Other Side Photo courtesy of TOS
The Other Side. Photo courtesy of TOS.

Iris Company artistic director Sophia Stoller and her dancers lure the audience among four rooms as they debut The Other Side drawn from actual social experiments in the 1960’s and 1970’s concerning social hierarchy, conformity, authority and its abuse. A Cal Arts grad and long-time teacher at the Gabriella Foundation, Stoller has committed part of the proceeds to the foundation’s programs extending dance education to low income youth. Refreshments at the bar will be available throughout the show. Grammercy Studos, 2010 W. 62nd St., Chesterfield Square; Fri.-Sat., May 5-6 & 12-13, 8 p.m.,

While Pantsula 4 Lyf is not live performance, this celebration of popular dance in South Africa offers photographer Chris Saunders’ intriguing photos and videos capturing pantsula’s adaptation of hip hop and American fashion. Featuring crews of young men and women in Johannesburg, pantsula performers favor American-name brands like Converse All-Star shoes and Dickies brand work pants. UCLA Fowler Museum, 308 Charles E Young Dr. N, Westwood; Wed., noon – 8 p.m., Thurs.-Sun., noon – 5 p.m. thru Sun., May 7, free.

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