Taking It All Outside

Conjuring a Hindi wedding in Montecito Heights, National Dance Day in Costa Mesa, a festival finale in San Pedro, J Sette in Santa Monica, some Shakespeare in Descanso Gardens, all live, all al fresco, plus dance films, online encores, dance classes and more SoCal dance this week.

Live This Week

…Something borrowed, and something blue

Pick either day of this two-day celebration as Blue 13 Dance Company takes the audience outdoors at this noted wedding venue for nuptials as experienced in India. In Shaadi (Hindi for wedding), choreographer Achinta S McDaniel and assistant choreographer Jon Paul set the dancers moving to live music along with a DJ who promises a mix of Bollywood, Bhangra, and Western music. Dancers include Anthony Arellano, Jacquelyn Buckmaster-Wright, Alisa Carreras, Valerie Chen, Atticus Dobbie, Haily Foster, Robert Gomez, Kirby Harrell, Joya Kazi, Jacob Magana, Antonio Martinez, Monica Moskatow, William Okajima, Chase Peterson, Jared Rice, Hayden Rivas, Svetlana Tulasi, Myra Joy Veluz, and Adrianna Vieux. At the Heritage Square Museum grounds, 3800 Homer St., Montecito Heights; Fri. & Sat., Sept. 17 & 18, 7:30 pm (gates open at 7 pm). $30 (includes wine) & $75 (wine and hors d’oeuvres), $10 limited student tickets. Information, Covid-19 protocols, and tickets at Blue 13 Dance.

Four dancers strike different poses
Blue 13 Dance Company. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Bucking the trend

Starting in 2013, performers/choreographers jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham focused on the concept of joy, particularly what the duo call “the conundrum of Black joy.” Their medium became J Sette, also known as “Bucking” popularized by drill teams and majorettes in southern states, particularly at historically Black colleges and universities. The precise, unified stepping of the dance form also has surfaced among teams of primarily queer men who compete at gay clubs and pride festivals. The duo’s explorations developed into Let ‘I’m Move You: This is a Formation, three performance works involving seven dancers and an installation. Performed alternately on the REDCAT stage and offsite at historically Black neighborhoods, the initial performance is at a yet to be disclosed Santa Monica location on Thurs., Sept. 16, dusk. (Check the website for Santa Monica location, info not available at press time.) Also at REDCAT, Disney Hall, 631 W. 2nd St., downtown; Fri.-Sat., Sept. 17-18, 8 pm, $25, $20 students. REDCAT.

A man in a red shirt and jeans strikes a pose on a sidewalk
jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham. Photo courtesy of the artists

International infusions

This year’s National Dance Day performances include Chinese Dance Company of Southern California, Relampago del Cielo, N8tive Hoop, and American Ballet Theater Gillespie School. The line-up includes workshops in K-Pop, dance for all abilities, African dance, salsa, and a chance to learn the official National Dance Day Routine from Brian and Scott Nicholson, choreographers for Ariana Grande. At Argyros Plaza, Segestrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Sat. Sept. 18, 4-8 pm. $10. More info, warm-ups, Covid-19 protocols and tickets at SCFTA.

A woman in a long skirt dances for National Dance Day.
National Dance Day. Photo courtesy of the artists.

A bit of the Bard

Brian Elerding and Debbie Ortiz from Lineage Dance join with the professional actors, writers, and improvisors of Ensemble Shakespeare Theater for What You Will. Performed outdoors under the trees, the performances are described as a Shakespearean “un-play,” actually a series of mini-plays bringing the performers’ individual and diverse backgrounds to reconsider and recontextualize the Bard of Avon’s stories and words. Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge; Thurs.-Sat., Sept. 16-18, 5:30 pm, $20-25.  More info and Covid protocols at Ensemble Shakespeare Theater. Tickets at Descanso Gardens.

Two women stretch in opposite directions
Lineage Dance. Photo by Michelle Kolb.

Last one for this year

Keeping the hybrid format that remains prudent in the age of unpredictable Covid surges, the intrepid San Pedro Festival of the Arts (formerly the Tri-Arts Festival) combined live and online options for three different programs dealt out over three weekends this month, with all shows free. The festival opened with a half dozen films spotlighting mostly SoCal dance companies. Last week, live performance took the stage for the first of two weekends offering more than two dozen troupes in two different live performances at two different venues. This week’s live finale also has an online option. This week at Anderson Memorial Senior Center (on the lawn), 828 S. Mesa St., San Pedro; Sun., Sept. 19, 1 p.m., free. San Pedro Festival of the Arts channel. Previews, a complete line up of performers, Covid protocols, live performance registration, and more at Tri-Arts Festival.

A group of contemporary dancers in different positions
Louise Reichline & Dancers at San Pedro Festival of the Arts

Another opening, another show

The ribbon cutting is the main event but there will be dancing as Gema Sandoval and her Danza Floricanto/USA open a new studio at Floricanto Center for the Performing Arts, Casa Mexicano, 2900 Calle Pedro Infante, Boyle Heights; Sat., Sept. 18, 1-5 pm, free. Floricanto Center for the Performing Arts.

A group of dancers with sombreros
Danza Floricanto/USA. Photo by Frank Sandoval.

A Peek at Next Week

  • Leela Dance Collective at multiple LA locations and times; Fri.-Sun., Sept. 24-26, free to $10. Leela Dance Collective
  • Micaela Taylor & the TL Collective at Musco, Chapman University, One University Dr., Orange; Fri., Sept. 24, 7:30 pm., $20-$53. Musco Center
  • Flamenco Feria 2021. St. Isadore Historical Plaza, 10961 Reagan St., Los Alamitos; Sat., Sept., 25, 4-10 pm, Sun., Sept., 26, 11 am-6pm. Two days $45, one day $24-$35, children $8-$20. Flamenco Feria
  • New films from Kai Hazelwood, about George Balanchine in the classroom, and a ballet feature film, Birds of Paradise.

New Online This Week

They’re back with more

When theaters shuttered with the pandemic, dance and its audiences went online and began expanding the possibilities of dance on film. LA choreographer Jacob Jonas and his Jacob Jonas/The Company gathered artists from around the world to produce 15 original short dance films under the banner Films.Dance. In January 2021 the films started rolling out over four months, one each Monday, all free. The project earned boasting rights as many of those films went on to win awards at other film festivals. This week begins Films.Dance Round Two, again with dance, dancers, and filmmakers from around the world. The original films, a preview, and e-mail sign up for free weekly film delivery at Films.Dance.

A man crouches inside a setback in a large piece of stone
“Films.Dance Round 2.” Photo courtesy of the artists.

Online Encores

In case you missed it the first time

Continuing its roll out of encore videos from past performance, Viver Brasil adds Ramunha to the examples of the rich repertoire reflecting efforts to preserve Brasil’s African culture in dance and music. Free at Viver Brasil. The ensemble also is part of KCET’s Southland Sessions streaming at KCET.

A female dancer with a bright yellow floral skirt and a large colorful bag on her head dances in front of a group of five other dancers
Viver Brasil. Photo courtesy of the artists.

L.A. dance gets a little love

The third season of the Music Center’s digital series For the Love of L.A. keeps adding new videos filled with curated dance, music, and visual arts. The season includes South Asian-American dance with Shalini Bathina and 17-year old Shreya Patel, Japanese influenced dance in a film directed and performed by Kyoko Takenaka, contemporary dance set in Leimert Park from Brianna Mims, an excursion between beach and backyard from Maya Alvarez-Coyne, Albertossy Espinoza’s LA Fusion Dance Theater, and more. Online free, at Music Center.

A dancer, Brianna Mims, straddles a tilted table. She wears bright blue high-heeled boots, tight blue jeans and a striking brown and white vest. Her face can't be seen, only the top of her head.
Brianna Mims. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Online Dance Classes

Get thee to a dance class!

On-line dance classes continue on zoom, instagram, other on-line platforms, and increasingly in person. Many classes free, low cost or suggesting a donation. One central, constantly updated source on dance classes and in-depth reporting on SoCal dance, LA Dance Chronicle lists on-line dance classes including any cost and contact info. Grab a chair or clear off a corner of the room and use this time to dance. LA Dance Chronicle.

A large group of people in sweatpants and white tops dance together on a large stage.
Dance classes.

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