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When the Music Moves

Street dance goes al fresco in Beverly Hills, two music fests host folkloric dance troupes, sculpture gets a final movement in Hollywood, and disco reigns downtown, all live! A new female centered dance film, Brazilian dance seeks divine help, an OC troupe’s latest film, online encores and more SoCal dance this week.

Street stepping out of the box

An al fresco stage and music from the Motor City fuel Box of Hope, the high-energy hip-hop dance theater production from Versa-Style Dance Company.  The aplomp and enthusiasm of these accomplished dancers bring new life to familiar Motown hits and at the same time deftly underscore issues of economic and racial oppression that Motown artists often included as subtext, and sadly remain topical. Kudos to the Wallis as it continues to present important LA dance troupes in this major venue. Outdoor Stage at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Thurs.-Sat., Aug. 19-21, 8 p.m., $35. Details on Covid-19 safety protocols and tickets at The Wallis.

A dancer squats holding a red box in front of a group of dancers who are in different poses seeming to recoil.

Versa Style Dance Company. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Folklorico #1 with mariachi

The dancers of Mi Tierra Ballet Folklorico join the parade of music ensembles at the 32nd Mariachi USA Festival. Last year’s fest was Covid-cancelled, but it is back, live, and with a fireworks finale. The full lineup of musical performers and the latest Covid safety precautions are at the website. At the Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; Sun., Aug. 22, 5:30 p.m., $39-$49.50. Hollywood Bowl

Three women and two men in different, traditional Mexican folkloric costumes.

MiTierraBalletFolklorico

Folklorico #2 with Latinidad

Before taking its distinctive brand of Latin jazz on a nationwide tour that includes the Monterey Jazz Festival and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, L.A.’s own Las Cafeteras launches the Music Center’s Summer Soundwaves series helped by dancers from Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles performing choreography created for this program. Free tickets for those 12 and under (four tickets max) is a move geared to encourage bringing the kids. At the Music Center Jerry Moss Plaza, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Sat., Aug. 21, 8 p.m., $20, up to four free tickets for age 12 and under. Music Center.

The stage is filled with mariachi musicians and Mexican folkloric dancers in blue swirling skirts.

Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles. Photo by Luis Luque.

Folklorico #3 with a family-friendly tour

The 40 dancers and musicians of Pacifico Dance Company offer a morning tour of Mexico and its history of colonialism intertwined the cultural traditions of African, Mexican Amerindian, and European settlers. At the Ford Theater, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood; Sun., Aug. 22, 10 a.m., $10. The Ford.

Three female dancers in white blouses and red, ruffled skirts.

Pacifico Dance Company. Photo by Gennia Cui.

Last chance to “tumble”

A series of “activation performances” with dancer/choreographer Jessica Emmanuel are inspired by and incorporate parts of the Tumblehood, the 2015 spherical sculpture crafted by Nari Wood out of sneakers and shoelaces. Emmanuel began these performances in June, took a break in July, and this Saturday wraps up her interpretations. At Jeffrey Deitch, 925 N. Orange Dr., Hollywood; Sat., Aug. 21, hourly from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., free. Jeffrey Deitch.

A woman sits on the ground in a white-walled room with the word "roll" on the wall in a descending diagonal. The woman has one hand on a large ball, an artwork called "Tumblehood" and behind her is more sculptural works made of sneakers and shoelaces.

Jessica Emmanuel. Photo by Yoko Morimoto.

Dust off the dancing shoes

It may be too hot for John Travolta’s white polyester suit from Saturday Night Fever, and anyway, it’s Friday. Still, it’s disco night at this week’s edition of Music Center Dance DTLA. Instructor Andy Vaca leads the free class at 7 p.m. followed by a chance to dance under summer stars. Join in or sit back and enjoy the free dance show. DJ Dirty Dave works the turntables  and the website lists the featured food trucks. In the weeks to come look for Motown, salsa and Bollywood. Details at the website. Music Center, Jerry Moss Plaza, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., Aug. 20, 7pm to 11pm, free. Music Center

A large group of people dance together at night.

Dance DTLA. Photo by Javier Guillen.

A Peek at Live Dance Coming Next Week:

  • Forever Flamenco at the Fountain Theater, Silver Lake; Sat.-Sun., Aug. 28-29. Fountain Theatre.
  • Chris Emile in partnership with Gxrlschool at the Compound, Long Beach; Sat., Aug. 28. Compound.
  • Jasmine Rafael, part of A Night of “Pinoy”tainment at The Ford Theater, Hollywood; Sun., Aug. 29, The Ford.
  • Music Center Dance DTLA Motown at the Music Center Plaza, downtown; Fri., Aug. 27. Music Center.

Online This Week

Summer “summons”

Current artistic director Jamila Glass directed and former artistic director Genevieve Carson choreographed Summon: a dance film. The preview suggests the new film puts LA Contemporary Dance Company’s strong, elegant females center stage. Dancers include Hyosun Choi, Angel Tyson, Drea Sobke, Kate Coleman, Nicole Hagen, Tiffany Sweat, Carissa Songhorian, Gigi Todisco, Kenzie McClure, and Shauna Davis. LACDC has an excellent track record in shifting dance works to film in a manner that serves both art forms. Info on LACDC and prior films at LACDC. The new release is available for $5 for a 48-hour rental on Vimeo.

A female dancer in a blue spotlight stands on one leg and extends the other in the air

LA Contemporary Dance Company. Photo by Taso Papadakis.

What they did this summer

Four new dance films feature members of Backhausdance and participants in the company’s three-week summer dance intensive under the banner 2021 BDSI Watch Party. The screening includes behind the scene features including interviews and class footage for the intensive that managed in person and online options. Info at Backhausedance. See the trailer for free and rent online on Vimeo.

A male dancer leans forward with a female dancer lying along his back her legs elevated on a nearby wall

Backhaus Dance. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Looking for divine help

This week’s encore of past Viver Brasil performances is the 2017 work Avaninha that focuses on health and sickness, calling for help from the sacred energies of the Brazilian Orixá through rhythm, song, and gesture. This is the newest addition to the company’s weekly online rebroadcast of past shows. The troupe’s rich repertoire reflects 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 heavily muscled male dancer with long brown grass over his face

Viver Brasil. Photo by Jorge Vismar.

Online Encores

Addressing the jab

Among the innovative Covid-19 vaccination efforts, Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital Campus (MLK) teamed with site specific dance company Heidi Duckler Dance to create a short, public service announcement film Ages Take Action: Give the Vaccine a Shot. The video has become part of community outreach efforts by hospital personnel and other health professionals to disseminate information about the vaccination effort and address the disproportionate pandemic toll on BIPOC communities. Free online on Vimeo.

Heidi Duckler Dance

Heidi Duckler Dance. 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

Pandemic exhaustion? Pandemic fitness promises to keep? 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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