Two L.A. Hip Hop Troupes Take On the World

This week’s SoCal dance events include a dance/circus troupe in a Santa Monica stage kitchen, Merce Cunningham alum Jonah Bokaer in Westwood, new choreography in Long Beach, flamenco in East Hollywood, Savion Glover in Irvine, a South African hip hop fashion exhibit, and a hip hop duo downtown.

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5.  A dance half dozen 

Six new danceworks by CSULB undergraduate choreographers Ashley Allen, Alice Amano, Kathryn Giometti, Nathaniel Gonzaga, Tanner Miranda, Haley Richartz, and Jack Taylor highlight the 2017 Contemporary Dance Concert. CSULB Martha B. Knoebel Dance Theater, Thurs.-Fri., Feb. 16 -17, 8 p.m., Sat., Feb. 18, 2 & 8 p.m., $20, $16 seniors & students. 562-985-7000,

2017 Contemporary Dance Concert Photo courtesy of CSULB Dance Department
2017 Contemporary Dance Concert. Photo courtesy of CSULB Dance Department.

4.  Dancing in the kitchen    

Founded by alums of Cirque du Soleil, 7 Fingers (Les 7 Doights de la Main in its Quebec, Canada homebase) has evolved into its own distinctive and entertaining blend of dance, circus, and spoken word. This visit adds a functional onstage kitchen as the performers take on competitive cooking shows, in Cuisine & Confessions. Two years ago, this Canadian ensemble was presented as a special event in the Music Center’s dance season and in a separate event helped hundreds of L.A. school children enter the Guiness Book of Records with the largest ribbon dance in history. Ribbons then, now they’re into food and cooking competitions. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Thurs.-Fri., Feb. 16-17, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Feb. 18, 2 & 7:30 p.m. $50-$95. 310-434-3200,

7 Fingers (7 Doights de la Main) Photo by Alexandre Galliez
7 Fingers (7 Doights de la Main). Photo by Alexandre Galliez.

3.   Flamenco that keeps on going 

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Forever Flamenco brings the passion of that percussive dance in a program led by dancer Lakshmi Basile (aka La Chimi). She’s joined by dancer Manuel Gutierrez, guitarist Andres Vadin, singer José Cortex and percussionist/guitarist/singer Bruno Serrano. Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., East Hollywood; Sun., Feb. 12, 8 p.m., $40-$50, $30 seniors & students. 323-663-1525,


2.  Crews go downtown

The Aratani World Series tends to focus on dance from other countries. In something of a pivot, this edition showcases two of the best of the local hip hop troupes Versa Style Dance Company and Culture Shock-Los Angeles. In addition to the explosive energy onstage, at 6 p.m. the plaza outside the theater will be given over to Next Gen Hip Hop and an array of food trucks. Onstage Jackie Lopez (Miss Funk) and Leigh Foaad (Breeze-Lee) and the Versa-Style dancers take a page from the myth of Pandora’s Box in Box of Hope. Beau Fournier and David Lee lead Culture Shock LA in 4 All People, employing four distinct hip hop styles to retell a folktale about four battling brothers. Aratani Theatre, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro St., downtown; Sat., Feb. 11, 7 p.m., $25-$35.

Culture Shock-LA Photo courtesy of Culture Shock-LA
Culture Shock-LA. Photo courtesy of Culture Shock-LA.
Versa Style Dance Company Photo courtesy of Versa Style Dance Company
Versa Style Dance Company. Photo courtesy of Versa Style Dance Company.

1.  Breaking the rules

The photo of the man at the drum set could be an out take from the film Whiplash, but it’s for Rules Of The Game choreographer Jonah Bokaer‘s collaboration with scenographer/visual artist Daniel Arsham for eight dancers with original music by composers Pharell Williams and David Campbell. Inspired by playwright Luigi Pirandello, it is one of three scheduled works from Bokaer, a former Merce Cunningham dancer whose combination of dance with video and other elements seems to achieve an equilibrium with the ancillary elements enhancing but not overwhelming or distracting from the dancing. UCLA Royce Hall, 340 Royce Dr., Westwood; Fri., Feb. 10, 8 p.m., $29-$49. 310-825-2101,

Rules of the Game Photo courtesy of Jonah Bokaer & Daniel Arsham
Rules of the Game. Photo courtesy of Jonah Bokaer & Daniel Arsham.

Other dance of note:

Tap master Savion Glover arrives with his latest show Classical, accompanied by an 8-piece orchestra playing Bach, Mozart and Vivaldi. Irvine Barclay, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine; Fri.-Sat., Feb. 10-11, 8 p.m., $ 949-854-4646,

Savion Glover Photo courtesy of Savion Glover
Savion Glover. Photo courtesy of Savion Glover.

Hard to talk about the great Broadway musicals of the 20th century without Chita Rivera’s name coming up. She created Anita in West Side Story, Vilma in Chicago plus starring roles in Kiss of the Spider Woman Sweet Charity and Bye, Bye Birdie. The legendary stars recreates some of those signature moments in Chita: A Legendary Celebration. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Fri., Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m., $75-$110. 310-434-3200,

For almost 20 years, Rhythm of the Dance has toured the world celebrating Irish step dance and the story of Irish Celts, some seeking independence from England other migrating to America. A live band and three tenors back the dancers. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Dr., Cerritos; Fri., Feb. 10, 8 p.m., $30-$60. 562-467-8818,

Fans will recognize the names: Lindsay Arnold, Alan Bersten, Sharna Burgess, Artem Chigvintsev, Val Chmerkovskiy, Hayley Erbert, Jenna Johnson, Keo Motsepe, Gleb Savchenko and Emma Slater, cast members of the hit tv show and part of Dancing with the Stars: Live! – We Came to Dance. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Tues., Feb. 14, 7:30 p.m., as of press time only a few seats at $129 remain.

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. Among the special related events, the photographer Chris Saunders discusses the exhibit, the dancing and the fashion (Thurs., Feb. 23, noon). 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.

Anyone who missed last week’s performance by Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company, the home of choreographer Ohad Naharin can still get a glimpse of Naharin’s innovative movement approach known as “Gaga” in the documentary Mr. Gaga. screening at several Laemmle theaters.

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