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When Moved to Awe

Channeling Fred and Ginger downtown,flamenco fire in East Hollywood, science meets dance in West L.A., fireside dance in Santa Monica, T.S. Eliot moves into Westwood, samba in Huntington Beach and more SoCal dance this Valentine week.   

5.  Millepied melting

Valentine’s Day may not have been on his mind when Benjamin Millepied choreographed I fall, I flow, I melt for L.A. Dance Project, but the title is wonderfully descriptive for a valentine effect, even if the dance opens a few days after the occasion. This is a second iteration of the piece, originally premiered in January 2019 and dedicated to Richard D. Colburn. Performances extend beyond the holiday, offering additional chances to view LADP’s excellent dancers. Details at http://ladanceproject.org/. L.A. Dance Project Studios, 2245 E. Washington Blvd., downtown; Wed.-Sat., Feb. 19-23 & 26-29, 8 p.m., $45. Family friendly show Sat., Feb. 23, noon, $20, free children under two years. https://www.artful.ly/store/events/1939.

L.A. Dance Project. Daniel Beres.

L.A. Dance Project. Daniel Beres.

4. Fred & friends

Re-creations of several classic Fred Astaire dance numbers and a new work from American Contemporary Ballet artistic director Lincoln Jones offer a valentine-worthy taste of Astaire’s classic movie musical partnerships in Astaire Dances III. Metropolis Los Angeles, 877 S. Francisco St., Upper Level, downtown; Thurs.-Fri., Feb. 13-14, 8 p.m., Sat., Feb. 15, 5 & 8 p.m., Sun., Feb. 16, 2 & 5 p.m., $45-$105. https://www.acbdances.com.

American Contemporary Ballet. Photo by Darren Dai.

American Contemporary Ballet. Photo by Darren Dai.

3. Indefatigable flamenco

If the passion of Spain is your Valentine’s style, consider this edition of the long-running, mostly monthly Forever Flamenco. This installment features dancers Lakshmi “La Chimi’ Basile and Briseyda Zárate with singer Oscar Valero and guitarist Andres Vadin. The Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., E. Hollywood; Sun., Feb. 16, 8 p.m., $40-$50. https://www.fountaintheatre.com/.

Forever Flamenco's Lakshmi Basile. Photo by Bruce Bisenz.

Forever Flamenco’s Lakshmi Basile. Photo by Bruce Bisenz.

2. Poetry in motion

The source material, written over six years during the Germans’ bombing of London and World War II, isn’t exactly valentine card material, but T.S. Eliot’s four poems are considered the poets last great masterpiece. Each poem has its own title, but is best known by the collective title Four Quartets. More than half a century after they were written, the poems have inspired a new, collaborative interpretation blending dance (American choreographer Pam Tanowitz), music (Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho), and painting (American modernist Brice Marden) with Tony Award nominated actress Kathleen Chalfant giving voice to Eliot’s meditative words.  A pre-performance event invites the audience to an annual Poetry Bureau for an original poem, definite possibility for some valentine language there. UCLA, Royce Hall, 10745 Dickson Ct., Westwood; Sat., Feb. 15, 8 p.m., Sun., Feb. 16, 3 p.m., $29-$99.  https://cap.ucla.edu/calendar/details/four_quartets.

Four Quartets. Photo by Maria Baranova.

Four Quartets. Photo by Maria Baranova.

1.  Scientific method movement

Choreographer Donna Sternberg and her eponymous Donna Sternberg & Dancers have a penchant for sly humor when deployed along a light rail line in the series Transit Dances, but Sternberg also has a more serious side. For more than ten years, her series Awe and Wonder has paired choreographers with four scientists to create dances informed by different fields of science. For this edition, the scientific worlds of immunology, geology, cancer research and microbiology are explored by South Asian dancemakers Aparna Sindhoor and Anil Natyayeda as well as contemporary choreographers Bridgette Dunn-Korpela, James Gregg and Sternberg. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A.; Sat., Feb. 15, 8 p.m., Sun., Feb. 16, 3 p.m., $25, $20 students/seniors. https://aweandwonder.bpt.me.

Donna Sternberg & Dancers. Photo by Paul Antico.

Donna Sternberg & Dancers. Photo by Paul Antico.

Other dance of note:

Once described by Rolling Stone magazine as the “poet of brokenness”, the music and lyrics of Leonard Cohen songs like Suzanne, Hallelujah, and Dance Me to the End of Love immediately strike at heartstrings. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal pays homage to Montréal-based Cohen with the west coast debut of Dance Me. Andonis Foniadakis, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Ihsan Rustem choreographed the songs. Be warned, both shows may already be sold out.  The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., Feb. 14-15, 7:30 p.m., $69.  https://thebroadstage.org/.    

Ballet Jazz de Montréal. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Ballet Jazz de Montréal. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Even in SoCal, February evenings can have a chill. If snuggling up near a warm fire is your valentine preference head to the pairing of dancer/choreographer Angela Todaro with the musical duo Petty Chavez for an evening of contemporary dance and music. Part of the Fireside at the Miles series. Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; Fri., Feb. 14, 8 p.m., $5-$10. https://www.eventbrite.com.

Angela Todaro. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Angela Todaro. Photo courtesy of the artist.

If a threesome is on the Valentine menu, consider Bossyflyer. The trio of acrobat/dancers–Taylor Casas, Cynthia Price and Ezra Lebank–take inspiration from Jean Paul Sartre’s existential play No Exit to explore movement possibilities in Three..Hell is Other People. Diavolo Center, 616 Moulton Ave., Lincoln Heights; Sun., Feb. 16, 7 p.m., $20-$75. https://www.bossyflyer.com/three.

Bossyflyer. Photo by Andi McLeish.

Bossyflyer. Photo by Andi McLeish.

Ice cream and champagne are promised as Gerard & Kelly explore the warehouse space in State of using the language of pole dancing. Warehouse at the Geffen Contemporary, 152 N. Central Ave., Little Tokyo; Sat., Feb. 15, 11:30 a.m. & 3 p.m., free (priority given to MOCA members). https://www.moca.org/program/gerard-kelly-state-of.

Technically they are percussionists, but they also move like dancers to the rhythms they create with everything from plastic bags to brooms to drums suspended across the backdrop.  It’s Stomp and the popular touring show is back. The Soroya, Cal State University Northridge; 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge;  Sat., Feb. 15, 3 & 8 p.m., Sun., Feb., 16, 3 p.m., $29-$101. https://www.thesoraya.org/.

Stomp. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Stomp. Photo courtesy of the artists.

For those who want some art or history with their dance on Valentine’s Day, the L.A.-based Maya-Quiche dance group Danza Maya Aipop Tecum performs a Mayan Deer Dance. The troupe traces its family to Olintepeque Quetzaltenango, Guatamala where the deer dance is a regional tradition. The event marks the opening of Inside the Mask exhibiting masks from Central America and Mexico. UCLA Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sat., Feb. 15, 2 p.m., free. https://hammer.ucla.edu.

Danza Maya Aipop Tecum . Photo courtesy of the artists.

Danza Maya Aipop Tecum . Photo courtesy of the artists.

Serving up a family-friendly celebration, Brazilian Carnival Matinee combines a samba-infused carnival with Valentine’s weekend. L.A. Samba Dancers, Calisamba and the Kizambo Brass Band perform. Other entertainment includes a participatory drum circle, DJs, food, games, arts and crafts. Costumes are encouraged. Old World Huntington Beach, 7561 Center Ave., Huntington Beach; Sun., Feb. 16, 2-6 p.m., $15, free under 12 years. https://braziliannites.com/events/.

Four Larks "Frankenstein". Photo courtesy of the artists.

Four Larks “Frankenstein”. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Just in case there are not yet enough interpretations, director/composer Mat Sweeney and creative producer Sebastian Peters-Lazaro bring the talents of their eclectic performance ensemble Four Larks to bear on Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. The troupe has drawn high praise and enthusiastic audiences for its ongoing partnership with the L.A. Chamber Orchestra and was last seen conducting an immersive excursion through the afterlife with the Getty Villa environs standing in for ancient underworld in Katabasis. This new project draws on choreography and set design by Sebastian Peters-Lazaro with a dozen performers who double as musicians. The text and libretto from Sweeney promises a cautionary consideration of modern technology lurking in Shelley’s classic tale. The Wallis, Lovelace Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; opened Wed., Feb. 12, 8 p.m., then Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m., Sat., 2:30 & 8 p.m., Sun., 2:30 & 7:30 p.m., thru March 1, $60. https://thewallis.org/Frankenstein.

Cirque du Soleil. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Cirque du Soleil. Photo courtesy of the artists.

In its 41st and latest endeavor Volta, Cirque Du Soleil spotlights bicycle street sports and acrobatics associated with the world of BMX including a full-blown BMX park for what is billed as a “breath-taking finale of non-stop acrobatics on wheels.” The action will fill the signature Big Top here before moving to Orange county.  Dodger Stadium, 1000 Vin Scully Ave., Elysian Park; Tues. thru Sun., March 8, various dates, times & ticket pricess at https://cirk.me/VOLTA. Orange County Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa; Wed., March 18 to Sun., April 19, various dates, times & ticket prices at https://cirk.me/VOLTA.

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