Sarah Elgart Goes Al Fresco Near the Beach

This week’s dance events include science influenced dance downtown, a hip hop fest in Echo Park, female choreographers in a Chinatown gallery, Lewis Carroll goes bellydance in North Hollywood, a new dance fest in Orange County, and Sarah Elgart makes “room “in Santa Monica.

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5.  SoCal’s newest dance fest

Hosted by AkomiDance, the Orange County Dance Festival makes its debut with a line up of 17 dance companies celebrating the vibrant SoCal dance scene. Announced participants include  Palm Dance Collective, Suzy Miller, Erin Landry, Francesca Lee + Artists, Blurredink, Deborah Brockus, FUSE Dance Company, Invertigo Dance Theatre, Antics, Kairos Dance Company, Louise Reichlin + Dancers/LA Choreographers + Dancers, Evan Rosenblatt + Dancers, Contemporary Dance Practice: LA – Andrew Pearson, Emergent Dance Company, Leah Silva, R.ED Rhapsody and En Dance. Rose Center theater, 14140 All American Way, Westminster; Sat., April 2, 6 p.m. $15. 714-793-1150 Ext. 1,

Invertigo Dance Theatre Photo by Souheil Michael Khoury
Invertigo Dance Theatre. Photo by Souheil Michael Khoury.

4.  Dances at a gallery

Dance performances from Andrea Ordaz, Livya Howard-Yashar, Zoe Rappaport, and Olivia Mia Orozco in an art gallery setting, plus two dance films by Orozco and Rebeca Hernandez highlight Untamed. Stay for music and drinks after the show. Human Resources L.A., 410 Cottage Home St., Chinatown; Fri., March 31, 7:30 p.m., $5-$10 suggested donation.

Monica Michelle Fleming Photo courtesy of MMF
Monica Michelle Fleming. Photo courtesy of MMF.

3.  Hip hop dance fest

Organized by Licia Perea, Shut Up & Dance (SUAD) returns for a second year with eight L.A.-based hip hop and urban dancemakers showcased. Choreographers include Monica Michelle Fleming, Keilah Glover, Jared Jenkins, Joy Kwon, Rubi Morales, Rhapsody James -­ RED, and on Friday only Amy “Catfox” Campion  and Antics. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., Echo Park; Fri., March 31, 7:30 p.m., Sat., April 1, 1 & 7:30 p.m., $20.

Antics Photo courtesy of Antics
Antics. Photo courtesy of Antics.

2.  Four science-inspired dances

Contemporary choreographer Donna Sternberg and her troupe Donna Sternberg & Dancers have an impressive history translating elements of science into dance. For Awe and Wonder, Sternberg recruited a trio of established L.A. choreographers from different dance genres each working with a scientist to develop a new work informed in some way by science, not just a literal interpretation. In addition to Sternberg, the dancemakers are John Pennington (contemporary), Gema Sandoval (folkloric) and Ricky Palomino (commercial). The four scientists are climatologist Louisa Bradtmiller, immunologist Devavani Chatterjea, computational physicist Paul Nerenberg, and nanophotonicist: Michelle Povinelli. More info at Rosenthal Theater, Inner City Arts, 720 Kohler St., downtown; Sat., April 1, 8 p.m., Sun., April 2, 3 p.m. $25 in advance, $30 at door, $20 students/seniors in advance, $25 at door.

Donna Sternberg & Dancers Photo by Tio Von Hale
Donna Sternberg & Dancers. Photo by Tio Von Hale.

1.  Making room

The concept of outdoor rooms is a mainstay of SoCal landscape architecture and the concept underlying The Wonder Room, the annual outdoor performing arts event where visitors to Santa Monica’s Tongva Park are invited to meander through the various areas, experiencing a variety of performances and installations.  For the fourth annual event, the organizers have assembled musicians, singers and a new, as yet untitled work from the inventive choreographer Sarah Elgart and her company Arrogant Elbow.  Garbed in wearable sculpture from Tanja Skala and Swinda Richelt, Elgart’s 20 dancers perform to a score from Paul Chavez/Feltlike. Tongva Park, 1615 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; Wed.-Thurs., April 5-6, 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., free.

Sarah Elgart & Arrogant Elbow Photo by Jorge Vismara
Sarah Elgart & Arrogant Elbow. Photo by Jorge Vismara.

Other dance of note:

Led by Diavolo alum Jones (Welsh) Talmadge and Laura Covelli, Not Man Apart Physical Theater has a strong track record successfully taking on contemporary issues filtered through historical prisms often Greek mythology as in the recent Ajax in Iraq which considered parallels between U.S. military involvement in Iraq and the great warrior Ajax from the Trojan War.  For Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny opening this week, NMA takes aim at John Milton’s epic poem about the battle of angels vs demons and the fall from grace of Adam and Eve.  An original score and live digital animation, video and lots of other technical goings on underscore the dance, acrobatics and onstage theatrics. More details at Greenway Court Theatre, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 7 p.m. thru Sun., April 2. $20-$30, $15-20 students & military. 323-673-0544,
Not Man Apart Physical Theatre in Paradise Lost Photo courtesy of NMAPT
Not Man Apart Physical Theatre in Paradise Lost. Photo courtesy of NMAPT.

Actress/dancer Christina Carlisi evokes the spirit of the late modern dance legend Martha Graham in MARTHA, the one-woman show by Ellen Melaver. Whitefire theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; Sun., 7:30 p.m. thru April 16, $25.

 Not content to be a just restaurant diversion, Bellydance Evolution once again takes the art form into story-telling in a concert setting. Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is the target this time with 20 performers retelling the timeless tale in a family-friendly blend of bellydance, hip hop, tribal and contemporary dance. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Sat., April 1, 7:30 p.m., Sun., April 2, 4:30 p.m., $13-$39, 818-508-4200,

Bellydance Revolution 's Alice in Wonderland Photo courtesy of BR
Bellydance Revolution ‘s Alice in Wonderland. Photo by Bruno O’Hara.

Dance performances choreographed by Ros Warby are included in YoungArts Los Angeles, a showcase for young performers including Jahnavi Kalyan (classical Indian), Erin Blair (Scottish Highland), Juliette Martinez (Modern), Tatum Ramsey (Jazz), Daniel Rodriguez (Mexican Folkloric), and Evan Sagadencky (Choreography). The evening also includes theater and voice performers. Writing and classical music get their own nights. Details on all three shows at UCLA Royce Hall, 340 Royce Dr., Westwood; Sat., April 1, 8 p.m., $15.

Young Arts Photo courtesy of Young Arts
Young Arts. Photo courtesy of Young Arts.

Can’t get enough of Dancing With the Stars? Catch the show’s Anna Trebunskaya and Dmitry Chaplin along with finalists Legacy, Jonathan Platero and Nick Garcia plus a special guest appearance by Academy Award nominee Lesley Ann Warren as they recreate famous film sequences in Dance to the Movies.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Dr., Cerritos; Sun., April 2, 3 p.m., 562-467-8818,

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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