Moving To the Four

A quartet of contemporaries in Pasadena, taking AIM in Beverly Hills, sacrificial spring rites and incarcerated romance downtown, a sound/movement mix in West LA, Spanish visitors in East LA, folk dance in Irvine, more SoCal dance this busy week, and a peek at next week

Live This Week

Sacrifice to spring

Opening the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival in LA, a brutal, visceral version of Rite of Spring on a stage covered in aromatic peat launched German choreographer Pina Bausch into international fame along with her company Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal. That stunning production from the late choreographer has been recreated under the auspices of the Pina Bausch Foundation on a company of 30 dancers drawn from 13 countries in Africa. The program also includes Common Ground(s), choreographers Germaine Acogny and Malou Airaudo’s response to Bausch’s Rite. Acogny is the founder of Senegalese École des Sables  and Airaudo is a former dancer with Bausch’s company. The Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Thurs.-Sat., Feb. 8-10, 7:30 pm, Sun., Feb. 11, 2 pm, $35-$152. Music Center.

A man stretches his arms as a woman runs by
Pina Bausch’s “The Rite of Spring.” Photo by Stephanie Berger

Four by four

Since 2019, a consortium of dance companies based in the cities along the San Gabriels have presented themselves under the banner FOOTHILLS DANCEMAKERS. The group returns, offering a chance to sample perspectives on contemporary dance from a quartet of top notch LA-based companies: Benita Bike’s DanceArt, Pennington Dance Group, Nancy Evans Dance Theatre and Lineage Dance. Lineage Performing Arts Center, 920 E. Mountain St., Pasadena; Sat., Feb. 10, 7:30 pm, Sun., Feb. 11, 4 pm, $25, $20 students & seniors. Lineage PAC.

A group of dancers in white kneel
Nancy Evans Dance Theatre. Photo courtesy of the artists

Cunningham considered

With highly trained dancers and emotive choreography, dancemaker Kyle Abraham and his company AIM by Kyle Abraham arrive with a program promising a blend of tradition and contemporary. On the blended end, MotorRover is Abraham’s invited contemplation of Merce Cunningham’s 1972 ensemble piece Landrover. Among the emotive and contemporary, the company offers a world premiere commissioned from Andrea Miller. The Wallis, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Fri., Feb. 9, 7:30 pm, Sat., Feb. 10, 2 pm, $49-$79. The Wallis.

A group of dancers supports a dancer
A.I.M. by Kyle Abraham. Photo courtesy of the artists

Romeo & Juliet go to jail

The choreographer who transformed Swan Lake into a tale of ballet men in feathered knickers arrives with the 2019 Matthew Bourne’s Romeo & Juliet. Shakespeare’s star-crossed central lovers remain, as does Prokofiev’s seductively dissonant score, but the action has been moved from Verona, Italy to a dystopian prison/asylum and Juliet’s vile cousin Tybalt is now a sexually abusive warden. Bourne does darker with the best, yet still sets a standard for drawing out the poignant moments and bits of light in his shadowy retellings. Music Center, Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Tues.-Fri., 8 pm, Sat., 2 & 8 pm, Sun., 1 & 6:30 pm, thru Sun., Feb. 25, $35-$155. CTG.

A couple in front of bars
Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Johan Persson

Contemporary ballet from Spain

The Spanish ballet company Compañía Nacional de Danza made its mark under founder Victor Ullate, later under contemporary choreographer Nacho Duato, and since 2019 with artistic director Joaquín De Luz. Both Duato and de Luz are represented in the works scheduled for this visit, along with a third dance by Sol León and Paul Lightfoot. The Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Cal State University Los Angeles, 5151 State University Dr., East LA; Thurs., Feb. 15, 8 pm, 55-$195. Luckman Fine Arts Complex.

A group of dancers leans toward one on the ground
Compañía Nacional de Danza. Photo courtesy of the artists

Kindly working on kindness

This year’s Dance at the Odyssey festival closes with how i became kinder, and kinder. Choreographer Azuki Umeda and seven dancers seek to unify movement with sounds from a score that includes music by Robert Gaar and Lucy Liyou. Press materials caution that Liyou’s sound score includes explicit language. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West LA; Fri.-Sat., Feb. 9-10, 8 pm, Sun., Feb. 11, 2 pm, $25. Odyssey Theatre.

A dancer backlit
Azuki Umeda. Photo by Oswaldo Cepeda

A world of dance

An array of dance styles from around the world including Irish step dance, Indian folk fusion, Ukrainian hopak, and American clogging are parts of the repertoire Brigham Young University International Folk Dance Ensemble brings to the stage in Journey: Reflections at Irvine Barclay Theater, UC Irvine, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine; Tues., Feb. 13, 7 pm, $23-$31. The Barclay.

Just a peek

Aptly titled First Look, this informal performance series periodically offers an early glimpse at choreography being created by dancemakers in residence with LA Contemporary Dance Company. First up, highly praised Spenser Theberge who has been known to disregard the theater’s “fourth wall” and directly engage his audiences in his movement explorations. Stomping Ground, 5453 Alhambra Ave., El Sereno; Fri., Feb. 9, 2 pm, $5. LA Contemporary Dance.

A dancer without a shirt
Spenser Theberge. Photo by Jacob Jonas

It’s make a dance month

Timed to coincide with national choreography month, Nachmo LA Showcase 2024 has two different nights of new choreography. Friday offers Jacob Bowers & Sierra Dallas, Sunday Baxter, Zion Regis & Calista Madzar, Nadine Tran, Lolly, Rachel Turner, William L. Miller, Jr., Eduard Sargsyan, Sofia Saenz & Grigori Arakelyan, Simran Kadam, Sean Derek, Sophia Fan Lin & Ariana Chavez, Marialyse Rudi, and Natalie Palmgren.  Saturday includes Jacob Bowers & Sierra Dallas, Sunday Baxter, Cathy Taister, Robbie Downey, Lolly, William L. Miller, Jr., April Torres, Aparna Kumar, Joyce Lo, Jacob Bowers, Maggie Liang & Yinqi Wang, Pam Mueller, Saryh Deadmon & Kayley Huston, Jessica Bishop, and Paul Sivertsen. Stomping Ground, 5453 Alhambra Ave., El Sereno; Fri.-Sat., Feb. 9-10, 8 pm, $16 online, $22 at door, Stomping Ground LA.

A dancer in red boots
Julia Eichten. Photo courtesy of the artist

Dancing an opera

A solo dancer/choreographer and a solo soprano join forces in ISOLA, a new opera from composer Alyssa Weinberg with text by J Mae Barizo, and choreography by Julia Eichten. A founding member of LA Dance Project, Eichten takes dual credit as choreographer and the dancer, reflecting the soprano, singer Ariadne Greif. This opening offering of the Long Beach Opera season is sold out as of press time with wait list at the website. Compound, 1395 Coronado Ave., Long Beach; Sat.-Sun., Feb. 10-11, 7:30 pm, sold out, wait list at Long Beach Opera.

A Peek at Next Week

Laguna Dance Festival at Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach; Thurs, Feb., 22, 6 pm, free w/reservation, Fri.-Sat., Feb. 22-24, 7:30 pm, Sun., Feb. 25, 2 pm, $60, $30 students  Laguna Dance Festival.

Backhausdance at LA Dance Project, 2245 E. Washington Blvd., Arts District; Sat., Feb. 17, 8 pm, $30, $20 students. Backhausdance.

Dancers against a blue background
Backhausdance. Photo courtesy of the artists

Laurie Sefton Creates — Herd. Person? at LA Dance Project, 2245 E. Washington Blvd., Arts District; Thurs.-Fri., Feb. 22-24, 8 pm, $30. Laurie Sefton Creates.

UCI Dance Visions at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, UC Irvine, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine; Thurs.-Fri., Feb. 22-23, 8 pm, Sat., Feb. 24, 2 & 8 pm, $30, $26 seniors, $10 students & children. Irvine Barclay tickets.

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