Seeing RED

A U.S. premiere in Costa Mesa mulls the risks of chocolate, edgy ballet paints Pasadena red, a flamenco fest in Redondo Beach, a last look at a post-modern legend downtown, launching choreographers in the Arts District, a world premiere in Hollywood to feed seniors, more SoCal dance this week (March 31 to April 6), and a peek at next week.

Live This Week

Did someone say chocolate?

Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel’s revered book about thwarted lovers, magical realism, and emotion-charged cooking enthralled readers. The 1992 film version ignited more fans, including celebrated British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon whose full-length ballet version American Ballet Theatre premieres here this week. Developed as a co-production by ABT and Britain’s Royal Ballet where Wheeldon is Artistic Associate, the world premiere was in London  but SoCal gets the U.S. premiere with a live orchestra (New York doesn’t see it until June, further solidifying ABT’s SoCal presence). While the ballet plot departs from the book, the central, thwarted love story of Tita and Pedro remains the pulse of the ballet as does Tita’s otherworldly gift of imbuing her emotions into others through her cooking. In interviews, Wheeldon explained the rough translation of the title refers to something “boiling over” which is one way to describe the finale of the ballet. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Wed.-Sat., March 29-Sat., April 1, 7:30 pm, Sat. & Sun., April 1-2, 2 pm., $29-$250. SCFTA.

Two dancers in amorous pose
American Ballet Theatre. Photo by Fabricio Ferri

Last chance

Several of the notable figures who emerged from the post modern dance era centered at New York City’s Judson Church in the 1960’s left and came to SoCal. Rudy Perez and Simone Forti are among those NY transfers who became forces on the LA dance scene and now have éminence grise status here. Forti’s oeuvre and the materials that fueled them are the focus of Simone Forti, the first museum exhibit to survey what she produced. The three-month exhibit includes live performances of Dance Constructions, one of her landmark works from 1961. Sarah Swenson, a known LA choreographer and long-time associate of Forti, acted as Performance Coordinator for this project and Forti’s Dance Constructions presented throughout the exhibition, were staged by Carmela Hermann Dietrich. Hermann Dietrich and Forti have a relationship dating back to 1989 that includes improvised duets, the most recent of which, in 2017, was at Highways Performance Space.The exhibit also includes Forti’s sculptures, videos, drawings, and notebooks. Dance Constructions at MOCA Grand Avenue (Museum of Contemporary Art), 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Exhibit runs to Sun., April 2. Performances of Dance Constructions performed Thurs., 3:30, 4:45, 6:00, & 7:15 pm, Sat. & Sun., 12:30, 1:45, 3:00, & 4:15 pm, throughout the exhibit run, free with timed museum admission. MOCA.

Dancers suspended by ropes
Simone Forti’s “Hangers.” Photo courtesy of the artist

Souls and stomachs

In Abbale, Bodies in Play artistic director/choreographer Andrew Pearson brings a trio of true tales of fatherly relationships crossing different eras and cultures. Responding to ongoing food insecurity among LGBTQ seniors, the event also is a “food raiser” with attendees invited/encouraged to bring canned, dried, and other items. Full list of appropriate food donations is at the website.  After these performances, the show moves on to San Francisco for a run. The Broadwater Main Stage, 1076 Lillian Way, Hollywood; March 30-31, April 1, 8 pm, $20-$40 Flipcause.

A group of dancers in casual clothes
Bodies in Play. Photo courtesy of the artists

Ready for their close-up

Concluding their three-week residency, the artists in LA Dance Project’s 2023 Launch: LA program are ready to show their interdisciplinary work. Selected for their capacity to blend movement, collaboration, and visual art, Megan Doheny and Luca Renzi + Mike Tyus share the stage. LA Dance Project studios, 2245 E. Washington Blvd., Arts District; Fri.-Sat., March 31-April 1, 8 pm, Sun., April 2, 2 & 6 pm,$20, $15 students.  LA Dance Projects Tickets.

A dancer in brown leans backward
Megan Doheny. Photo courtesy of the artist

Hear those feet

This year’s LA International Flamenco Festival offers two days of performances with live music. Dancer Pastora Galván takes the stage on Saturday and Nino de los Reyes and Lakshmi Basile “La Chimi” on Sunday. Because of visa issues, flamenco star Antonio Canales had to cancel his scheduled appearance. Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach’ Sat.-Sun., April 1-2, 8 pm, $45-$165. Kalakoa Entertainment.

Flamenco dancer in white swirls a red fringed scarf
Lakshmi Basile “La Chimi.” Photo by Bruce Bisenz 

Scarlet shadings

Transforming a warehouse into a performance space appropriately infused with red light, edgy ballet choreographer Josie Walsh and her BalletRED dancers perform Frequency Vol. 1 Shades of Red backed by musician Paul Rivera amid installations from artist Nicole Reineman. Athletic Garage, 121 Waverly Dr., Pasadena; Fri.-Sat., March 31-April 1, 7:30 pm, Sun., April 2, 5:30 pm, $65. BalletRED Tickets.

A ballet dancer in front of a angel on stilts
BalletRED. Photo courtesy of the artist

A quick ten

The mostly monthly program Max 10 gives ten performers ten minutes each onstage. Hosted by venue director Joel Shapiro and curated by the staff, the line up of performances often includes dance. A post-show reception gives a chance to chat with the artists. Electric Lodge, Scott Kelman Theater, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; Mon., April 3, 7:30 pm, $10. Electric Lodge.

Big blue balls
Max 10. Photo courtesy of the artists

Send in the clowns

Emerging from pandemic-induced financial chaos, Cirque du Soleil returns with Corteo. The clown-themed show promises the extravagant, often breath-taking mix of acrobats, gymnasts, and yes, clowns, that made this cirque, the one by which all others are measured.  Microsoft Theater, 777 Chick Hearn Ct., downtown; opens Fri., March 24, 7:30 pm to Sun., April 30, 1 & 5 pm, (see website for full list of performances and times), $45-$115. Microsoft Theater.

A Peek at Next Week

Lemi Ponifasio’s Amor a la muerte (Love to Death) at REDCAT, Disney Hall, 631 W. 2nd St., downtown; Fri.-Sat., April 7-8, 8:30 pm, Sun., April 9, 3 pm, $30, $25 students. REDCAT.

High Voltage at Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; Fri., April 7, 8 pm, $10. Electric Lodge.

Ashwini Ramaswamy’s Let the Crows Come at BroadStage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., April 7-8, 7:30 pm, $40-$70. BroadStage.

A line of tap dancers
Dorrance Dance. Photo by Hayim Heron

Dorrance Dance at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Sat., April 8, 7:30 pm, $29-$109. SCFTA.

Leela Dance at the Doheny Mansion, Pompeian Room, 10 Chester Pl., University Park; Sat., April 8, 11 a.m. $20, $10 students, $10 livestream. Salastina.

Dance Notes

A costume clear out

After 18 years, LA Contemporary Dance Company is having a clear-out, a one-day sale of costumes accumulated over LACDC’s two decades of performances. Items will range in price from $1 – $20.  Credit card or cash only.  Bags will not be available on site so shoppers are advised to bring reusable bags. Sale at Stomping Ground, 5453 Alhambra Ave., El Sereno; Fri. March 31, 3 pm to 7 pm, RSVP requested at

What are you looking for?