The Music, the Mirror and the Chance to Dance

25 years of dance with live jazz celebrated in mid-City, an alumna reunion in Echo Park, classical dance from India meets contemporary dance downtown, new contemporary choreography in Santa Ana and Lincoln Heights, Mexican Christmas traditions in Lawndale, the seasonal onslaught of Nutcrackers begins and more SoCal dance this week.

5.  It’s about the site lines

A downtown loft provides a four-sided stage for choreographer Milka Djordjevich in the latest installment of the site specific performance series Santa Ana Sites. Dancers Laurel Atwell, Jessica Cook, Dorthy Dubrule, and devika wickrememsinghe perform Djordjevich’s Anthem employing contemporary dance to consider work, play and female postering. Soul Space Seven, 205 N. Main St., Santa Ana; Fri-Sat., Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 8 p.m., $18, $12 students.

Milka Djordjevich in Santa Ana Sites. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Milka Djordjevich in Santa Ana Sites. Photo courtesy of the artist.

4.  Filling every nook and cranny

The entire building that houses Human Resources LA will come into play as audiences navigate the space in this year’s (de) Color-Es 2018. Described as an evening of minoritarian art, the venue offers performances and durational installations from Isis Avalos, Jonathan Godoy, Sebastian Hernandez, Mujeres en Resistencia, Justin Morris & Steve Rosa, Tom Tsai, & Tranze Danza Contemporánea occurring throughout the premises. Human Resources, 410 Cottage Home St., Elysian Park; Sat., Dec. 1, 5 & 8:30 p.m., $20.

Tranze Danza Contemporánea in
Tranze Danza Contemporánea in “(de) Color-Es 2018”. Photo courtesy of the company.

3.  A half-dozen new works

Since mid-October choreographers Jessica Liu, Jamie Carr, Jessie Lee Thorne, Katherine Sauma, Eden Orrick and Jacquelyn Buckmaster have been developing new contemporary choreography as part of SHIFT/west, a new residency program encouraging west coast choreographers. Audiences get a first look as this latest development effort from the prolific Deborah Brockus and her Brockus Project takes the stage. Brockus Project Studios, 618B Moulton Ave., Lincoln Heights; Fri.-Sun., Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 8:30 p.m., $15.

It's Not About Pretty. Photo by Prin Rodriguez.
It’s Not About Pretty. Photo by Prin Rodriguez.

2.  Alumna reunion

The BlakTina Festival annually showcases choreography from a half dozen or more emerging Black and LatinX dancemakers in relatively short pieces. With this new endeavor, something of a BlakTina Festival 2.0, the stage is devoted to three alumna of prior BlakTina Festivals. Under the banner, It’s Not About Pretty, the trio–Bridget Dunn, Mallory Fabian and Vannia Ibarguen—reunite to share their personal dance visions in a well-deserved expanded canvas. The subjects range from body image to the environment, from race to gender.  Each roughly 20 minute work is followed by a Q&A with the choreographer, a promising new endeavor in the effort to expand opportunities and audience for emerging choreographers. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., Echo Park; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m., $25, $20 students. 213-389-3856,

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

1.  A silver commitment kept

Surviving 25 years in the hardscrabble local dance landscape is an accomplishment and doing so while making good on a commitment to perform with live jazz music is especially challenging for any choreographer or dance company. Choreographer/artistic director Pat Taylor and her aptly named JazzAntiqua Dance and Music Ensemble made such a commitment to performing with live music, a promise kept with amazing consistency for 25 years while simultaneously expanding the diversity on local stages. Taylor and her troupe celebrate this silver anniversary with FREEDOM! JAZZ! DANCE! an evening of contemporary dance, live music (of course), a guest poet and a quartet of exhibiting artists. Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 West Washington Blvd., mid-City; Sat., Dec. 1, 8 p.m., $25-$35. 323-964-9766,

          Other dance of note:

Christmas traditions celebrated in Mexico are brought to life as the dancers of Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company take the stage in Fantasía Navideña. Artistic director Jose Vences is known for his meticulous research and recreation of Mexican history and regional dances. Centinela Valley Center for the Arts, 14901 S. Inglewood Ave, Lawndale; Sat., Dec. 1, 7:00 p.m., $30-$50.

Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company. Photo by Gennia Cui.
Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company.
Photo by Gennia Cui.

Contemporary moves and classical dance from India open LA Dance Project’s performance series. A well-known and highly respected teacher and performer of Bharata Natyam, Mythili Prakash offers the premiere of HERE and NOW. LADP performs Orpheus Highway and the premiere of Homeward, both from LADP artistic director Benjamin Millepied to complete the program. L.A. Dance Project Studios, 2245 E. Washington Blvd., downtown; Thurs.-Sun., Nov. 29-Dec. 2, $30.

Mythili Prakash. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Mythili Prakash. Photo courtesy of the artist.

For its 2018 Winter Dance Concert, Cal Arts’ dance department offers an impressive line up of dances from celebrated choreographers with each work set by a former member of that choreographer’s company. The works include Merce Cunningham’s Canfield (1969), Trisha Brown’s Solo Olos (1976), Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s Shelter (1988), Jiri Kylian’s Fallen Angels (1989), and Rennie Harris’ Facing Mekka (1998). The styles range from modern to post modern, from ballet to contemporary and hip hop. The performances will travel from CalArts to downtown with the final performance shortened for a family friendly audience. CalArts, 24700 McBean Pkwy., Valencia; Thurs.-Fri., Nov. 29-30, 8 p.m. Also at REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., downtown; Fri.-Sat., Dec. 7-9, 8:30 p.m., $20, $16 students. https// Also at LA Dance Project Studios, 2245 E. Washington Blvd., downtown; Sun., Dec. 9, 2018.

The folkloric dancers of DanzArts Sabor Mexico Dance Company join the musicians of Sol de México de José Hernández and Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles in Merry-Achi Christmas. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Dr., Cerritos; Sat., Dec. 1, 7 p.m., Sun., Dec. 2, 2 p.m., $35-$86.

The top 10 contestants from So You Think You Can Dance season 15 are joined by SYTYCD alums Lauren Froderman (season 7 winner) and Cyrus “Glitch Spencer (season 9 runner up) in this live touring iteration of the popular tv show. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Sun., Dec. 2, 7 p.m., $39-$109.

Merce Cunningham "Clouds and Screens". Photo courtesy of LACMA.
Merce Cunningham “Clouds and Screens”. Photo courtesy of LACMA.

A harbinger of upcoming centennial activities celebrating the life and legend of the late modern dance choreographer Merce Cunningham, Clouds and Screens, includes two large works by Andy Warhol and Charles Atlas, both artists associated with Cunningham’s company. The installation also includes two early videos of Cunningham’s work with more to come during the exhibition’s run. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Hancock Park; Thurs.-Tues., thru March 31, $25, $21 students & seniors (museum admission).

                          Nutcrackers this week:

Over the next weeks, ballet will bloom across SoCal as the seasonal favorite, the Nutcracker arrives. Sugar plum fairies, mice armies, toy soldiers and dancing snowflakes take the stage in dozens of productions ranging from ballet studios to visiting professional companies.  Here are this week’s Nutcracker performances:

Set in 1912, the Los Angeles Ballet’s Nutcracker is an L.A. original, choreographed by company co-artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, with set design by L.A. artist Catherine Kanner. Now in its 13th season, L.A.’s own professional classical ballet company continues to demonstrate how well it understands this city. This year the company adds performances in Cerritos to its home theaters in Glendale, Westwood, Redondo Beach, and Hollywood with a live orchestra, bringing ballet to the audience rather than expecting folks to overcome hours of gridlocked traffic. The superb company dancers have proven themselves a home team to root for. In full disclosure, your scribe volunteered to watch the goings on from a chimney. Info and tickets at Alex Theater, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Dec. 1, 6 p.m., Sun., Dec. 2, 2 p.m., $36-$104. Also at Dolby Theatre, Hollywood & Highland, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Dec. 8, noon & 5 p.m., Sun., Dec. 9, noon p.m., $46-$124. Also at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., Dec. 15, 1 p.m. & 5 p.m., Sun., Dec. 16, 1 p.m., $36-$104.  Also at UCLA Royce Hall, Westwood.; Fri.-Sat., Dec. 22-23, 1 & 5 p.m., Mon., Dec. 24, 11 & 3 p.m., $36-$104. 310-998-7782,

Los Angeles Ballet. Photo by Reed Hutchinson.
Los Angeles Ballet. Photo by Reed Hutchinson.

Miami City Ballet returns for the second year with its production of George Balanchine’s Nutcracker. In addition to the live orchestra, young dancers from local studios and the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus participate. Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 1, 2 & 7:30 p.m., Sun., Dec. 2, 11 & 4 p.m., $34-$138.

Miami City Ballet. Photo by Iziliaev.
Miami City Ballet. Photo by Iziliaev.

Fans of Debbie Allen have a chance to see her perform in Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, her version of the holiday classic. Carlos Imperato,  Tisha Campbell-Martin, Tichina Arnold, Kristopher Nobles, Mathew Johnson and DADA also star, backed by dancers from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Redondo Beach; Thurs.-Fri., Dec. 6-7, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 8, 7 p.m., Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m., $60-$110.

Debbie Allen's Hot Chocolate Nutcracker. Photo courtesy of the artists.
Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Last year, American Contemporary Ballet debuted a one hour, immersive, three-dimensional  experience Nutcracker Suite. ACB returns with its compact version. ACB Studios, 700 S. Flower St., 3200, downtown; Sat., Dec. 1, 8 p.m., Sun., Dec. 2, 9, 16 & 23, 2 & 5 p.m., Fri., Dec 7, 14 & 21, 8 p.m., Sat., Dec. 8, 15, & 22, 2 & 5 p.m., Thurs. Dec., 20, 8 p.m., Mon., Dec 24, 1 p.m. $50-$98.

American Contemporary Ballet. Photo by Victor Demarchelier.
American Contemporary Ballet. Photo by Victor Demarchelier.

Yvonne Mounsey and Rosemary Valaire, the late founders of Westside Ballet created a Victorian Christmas card version of the Nutcracker.  The respected training company performs with the Santa Monica College Symphony.  The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 1-2, 1 & 5 p.m.; $45.

Choreographer Laurence Blake and artistic director Victoria Koenig created Inland Pacific Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker that has become a local tradition. IPB’s professional dancers are joined by students from IPB’s respected ballet academy. Two Friday performances on Dec. 14 and 21 are devoted to IPB’s popular Nutty Nutcracker. Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Dr., Rancho Cucamonga; Sat., Dec. 1 & 8, 2 & 7:30 p.m., Sun., Dec 2 & 9, 2 p.m. Also at Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside; Fri., Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 15, 2 & 7:30 p.m., Sun., Dec. 16, 2 p.m. Also at Bridges Auditorium, 450 N. College Way, Claremont; Fri., Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 22, 2 & 7:30 p.m., Sun., Dec. 23, 2 p.m., $23-$62, discounts for seniors & children 12 & under. 951-779-9800,

Inland Pacific Ballet. Photo courtesy of IPB.
Inland Pacific Ballet. Photo courtesy of IPB.

Inland Empire Contemporary Ballet – Grand Terrace Performing Arts Theatre, 21810 Main St., Grand Terrace; Sun., Dec. 8, 2:30 p.m., $15-$25.

Ventura County Ballet – Oxnard Performing Arts Center, 800 Hobson Way, Oxnard; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 1-2, 2 p.m. Also at Ventura College, 4700 Loma Vista, Ventura; Fri., Dec. 7, 7 p.m., Sat., Dec. 8, 2 & 7 p.m., Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m., $25-$40.

Ballet Etudes – Huntington Beach Historic Theater, 1905 Main St., Huntington Beach; Sat., Dec. 1, 7 p.m., Sun., Dec. 2, 1 p.m., Sat., Dec. 8, 2 & 7 p.m., Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m., $25-$35. 714-902-9423,

Dance Creations – Agoura Hills Performing Arts Education Center, 28545 W. Driver Ave., Agoura Hills; Fri., Nov. 30, 7 p.m., Sun., Dec. 2, 2 p.m., $18-24.

Dance Peninsula Ballet – Norris Theatre, 27570 Norris Center Dr., Rolling Hills Estates; Fri., Nov. 30, 7 p.m., Sat., Dec. 1, 2 & 7 p.m. Sun., Dec. 2, 2 p.m., $35, $25 under 18. 310-377-6663,,

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