When Reopening Isn’t a Straight Line

Contemporary in Beverly Hills, ballet in Malibu, new dance downtown, modern al fresco in Corona del Mar, folklorico in the Hollywood Hills, performance in a Westwood museum, all live! A festival encore, post modern choreography in a Leimert Park exhibit, new dance films, dance classes, and more SoCal dance this week.

So rudely interrupted

In fall 2019, the contemporary dance company BODYTRAFFIC was announced as the 2019-2020 resident company at the prestigious Wallis Theater, a triumphant and well-earned accolade for the LA-based company, also an acknowledgement of the vibrant local dance community seldom given the attention it deserves. Then came Covid. Celebration and ambitious plans stopped with the statewide pandemic shutdown in March 2020 and cancellation of live performance. After an 18-month interruption, theaters have reopened and The Wallis is making good on its original plans to showcase BODYTRAFFIC. The three part program includes the company premiere of Recurrence, a duet choreographed by company member Ethan Colagelo and two encores. Commissioned in 2013, Kyle Abraham’s Kollide combines and finds connections between ballet and hip hop. Music by James Brown provides the background for choreographer Micaela Taylor’s SNAP. The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Thurs.-Sat., Oct. 14-16, 7:30 pm, $39-$99. The Wallis.

A woman kicks her leg in the air in front of a group of dancers
BODYTRAFFIC. Photo by Rob Latour.

“X” marks the spot

Based in Philadelphia, the highly acclaimed and always innovative Ballet X makes a rare SoCal visit with performances at two venues. Founded by Christine Cox who serves as artistic director and choreographer Matthew Neenan, the 16-year old company has built a deserved reputation for its brilliant dancers and for presenting new choreography (its home studios are called Center for World Premiere Choreography). More info, tickets & Covid protocols at the theater’s website. At Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; Thurs., Oct. 14, 8 p.m., $25-$50. Pepperdine University Also at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Sat., Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m. $39-$119. SCFTA.

A male dancer bends backward and a woman leaps in the air
Ballet X. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Amid the flora and fauna 

With a commission from the Sherman Library and Gardens, choreographer Jennifer Backhaus and her Backhausdance have been creating a site-specific work in the lush gardens. The company hosts a series of open rehearsals leading up to next week’s outdoor performance. Sherman Library and Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar; Open rehearsals-Thurs., Oct. 7 & 14, Fri., Oct. 15, 10:30 am-1 pm, free. Performances-Sat., Oct. 16, 2 pm, free (sold out but accepting names for waiting list); Sat., Oct. 16, 5:30 pm, $200 with pre-show option $50. Info on rehearsals, performance, tickets & Covid protocols at Sherman Library and Gardens.

A male dancer leans forward with a female dancer lying along his back her legs elevated on a nearby wall
Backhausdance. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Movin’ indoors week 1 by week 2

For the next three weeks, the 18th annual REDCAT New Original Works (NOW) Festival brings three programs of innovative dance and other performing arts to the stage, each program presenting three artists. The opening triptych includes Togetherness, a duet by Melissa Cisneros developed in collaboration with dancer Eric Geiger. In Sex Lives of Dates, Pau S Pescador employs found objects, film, and a slide show of imagery. For her new work, The ocean is six miles deep, choreographer Marissa Brown explores issues of openness. In NOW’s week 2, a mother, a father and a filmmaker inspired the three works. For Piece X Piece, choreographer Rosanna Tavarez’s  drew on scholarly research on the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and her own mother’s immigration experience.  Eloquent Peasants’ multi-media work considers filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, while composer/songwriter Joshua Hill considers his father, singer Greg Hills who was recently diagnosed with dementia. Week 1: Thurs.-Sat., Oct. 7-9, 8:30 pm, Week 2: Oct. 14-16, 8:30 pm, Week 3: 21-23, 8:30 pm, $20, $16 students. Details on week 3, tickets, & Covid protocols at REDCAT.

Dancer in white moves around dancer on floor
Rosanna Tavarez. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Night dancing in Mexico

The audience gets a quick tour of Mexico’s musical nightlife in México de Noche. Ballet Folklorico Ollin provides a folkloric dance component to three musical groups that offer romantic duets and lively mariachi. The Ford, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood; Sat., Oct. 9, 8 p.m., $50-$100. Info, tickets & Covid protocols at The Ford.

Women dancers twirl long multi-colored skirts
Ballet Folklorico Ollín. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Post-modern rituals

Continuing its acquisition and exhibition of the work of post modern choreographers, the Getty Research Institute unveiled the first-ever retrospective of the work of choreographer and video artist Blondell Cummings: Dance as Moving Pictures. Known for translating everyday activities into dance movements, Cummings’ work often focused on food, family, major life events, and daily life rituals, especially Black life. Initiated as part of the GRI’s African American Art History Initiative, the exhibit includes videos, interviews, and photographs. On view at Art+Practice, 3401 W. 43rd Pl., Leimert Park; Wed.-Sat., noon-6 pm, to Feb. 19, 2022, free. Research guide at Getty Research Institute, Exhibition at Art+Practice.

A woman in a white dress holds a frying pan
Photo by Blondell Cummings

Museum moves

Performance and dance are the metier of several artists in both of the Hammer Museum’s big fall exhibits opening this week. Presented jointly with the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA), Witch Hunt surveys 16 artists focused on feminist, queer, and decolonial approaches to consider current and historical events. Among the artists who are movers look for Okwui Okpokwasili, Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz, and Beverly Semmes. The second opening, No Humans Involved, includes the performance duo Las Nietas de Nono. The exhibit’s title draws on the ideas of cultural theorist Sylvia Wynter whose panegyric writings advocated non-Western knowledge and spiritual practices. Exhibit info, tickets and Covid protocols at the website. UCLA Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood;  opening Sun., Oct. 10, then Tues.-Sun., 11 am – 6 pm to Jan. 22, 2022, free no reservation required. Hammer Museum.

Woman in yellow dress sitting with round globe on her head
Hammer Museum’s “No Humans Involved.” Photo courtesy of the artists.

Two taking care

As part of USC’s Trojan Family Weekend, dance students and alumni offer a performance along with two workshops blending dance and self-care. D. Sabela grimes’ workshop includes his funkamental mediKinetics and Bret Easterling employs the discipline known as Gaga in his session. On the lawn at USC Village, 3301 S. Hoover St., downtown; Sun., Oct. 10, 1 pm, free with registration.  Details, Covid protocols and registration at Eventbrite.

A man in black kicks his leg
Bret Easterling. Photo by Sophie Kuller.

A Peek at Next Week

  • Ophelia’s Jump Espiritu Flamenco at a private residence in Claremont, address with reservation; Fri.-Sat., Oct. 15-16, $100 (ticket includes 7 pm paella dinner, 8pm show.) Ophelia’s Jump or (909) 734-6565.
  • Catapault at Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu; Sat., Oct. 16, 7:30 pm, $22-$50. Pepperdine University.
  • Ballet X at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Sat., Oct. 16, 7:30 pm, $39-$119. SCFTA
  • Olivia Mia Orzco with Julienne Mackey The Messenger at Art installation at 2684 Lacy St., Lincoln Heights; Sun., Oct. 17, 5 p.m.Lacy Studio

Let the fall Galas begin

  • Pony Box Dance Theatre annual fundraiser – At 5411 Cedral St., Long Beach; Sat., Oct. 9, 6 – 9 pm., $50, $500 table for 10. Jamie@ponybox.org or 562-256-0198.
  • LA Dance Project Gala – At a private residence, address with reservation; Sat., Oct. 16, $1,000 single ticket LA Dance Project.
  • Invertigo Dance Theater Fall Soirée – online, Thurs., Oct. 21, 7:30 pm, reservations and donation levels at Invertigo Dance Theater

Dance in theaters and online

A second look from San Pedro

Just a few more days to view all the performances from the multi-day San Pedro Festival of the Arts. The annual fest returned with a hybrid of filmed performances and live dancing. The final day has been added to the stream at thru Oct. 11 at  Vimeo.

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

A myth resonates

Drawing a contemporary perspective on ancient Persian mythology, The Scarlet Stone (Moher-ye Sorkh) combines traditional and contemporary Persian dance, music and animation to find parallels between the myth and the 1979 Iranian Revolution along with its aftermath. The 80-minute film in Persian with English subtitles screens starting this week through the month of October. On October 10, the film includes a discussion moderated by famed director Peter Sellars with the film’s creators. Fri.-Sun., Oct. thru 31, online at TIRGAN.

A woman offers a scarf to a seated man
The Scarlet Stone. Photo by James Carmody

Opera dances

Dancer Lloyd Knight from the Martha Graham Dance Company provides the movement in the LA Opera‘s latest digital short, The First Bluebird in the Morning. Jamar Roberts directed and choreographed to composer Carlos Simon’s setting of verses by Sandra Seaton. Online, free at LA Opera

A man in red bends backward
Lloyd Knight. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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 woman watches a man carrying a woman near a large spherical structure
“Films.Dance Round 2.” Photo courtesy of the artists.

In case you missed it the first time

Continuing its roll out of encore videos from past performance, Viver Brasil adds Peace Transcends 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.

Three women leap on a stage
Viver Brasil. Photo by Gia Trovela.

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

Not quite ready to take class in person?

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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