Where Kyle Abraham Envisions A “Dearest Home”

Disco dance for downtown night owls, modern dance in Long Beach, hip hop meets classical in Westwood, dealing with death in Pasadena, contemporary dance in Beverly Hills, and more So Cal dance this busy week.

5.  Heading west

Dividing its time between Colorado and New Mexico, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet also has established a recurring presence in Southern California that last year led to the troupe being named the resident dance company at the Valley Performing Arts Center. The troupe opened mid-week in Orange County before moving to VPAC. For this visit the dancers team up with pianist Joyce Wang providing live music of Schumann for a world premiere from choreographer Jorma Elo. The program also includes Nicolo Fonte’s Where We Left Off and Jiri Kylian’s haunting masterpiece Return to a Strange Land. The Soroya, Valley Performing Arts Center, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Sat., April 7, 8 p.m., $33-$73. 818-677-3000, http://valleyperformingartscenter.org.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. Photo by Sharen Bradford.
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. Photo by Sharen Bradford.

4.  A change of place

Most of the year, Benita Bike’s DanceArt can be found at colleges, libraries, rec centers and other untraditional venues with programs that demystify the art of dance and how dances are made. Once a year, Bike and her engaging dancers perform a full concert on a traditional stage. This year’s concert includes works by Bike and guest choreographer Weslie Ching. Martha B. Knoebel Dance Theater, Cal State University Long Beach, 6200 E. Atherton Dr., Long Beach; Sat., April 7, 8 p.m., $24 in advance, $28 at door; $20 seniors in advance, $24 at door; $15 students. http://www.danceart.org/longbeach.

Benita Bike's DanceArt. Photo courtesy of BBDA.
Benita Bike’s DanceArt. Photo courtesy of BBDA.

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3.  On the night shift

With a theme of Disco Lives, the latest edition of Sleepless: The Music Center After Hours includes Invertigo Dance Theatre along with DJs, film screenings, art installations, curated cocktails and other insomniac-friendly events. Inspired by the semi-savory disco dance halls of the 1970s as well as the Hollywood disco dreams of Saturday Night Fever, Laura Karlin and her Invertigo dancers will be a pop up feature throughout the night. Karlin and Sadie Yarrington provide the choreography for dancers Heidi Buehler, Hyosun Choi, Christian Farjado, Isaac Huerta, and Yarrington. Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri.-Sat., April 6-7, 11:30 p.m.-3 a.m. $20 online, $30 at door. https://www.musiccenter.org/sleepless.

Invertigo Dance Theatre. Photo by George Simian Teaches.
Invertigo Dance Theatre. Photo by George Simian Teaches.

2.  Residing in Beverly Hills

Led by Benjamin Millepied, the contemporary company L.A. Dance Project returns to its new home theater with a quartet of works that boasts three L.A. premieres and duets gleaned from modern dance legend Martha Graham. Celebrated Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin contributes Yag, while American choreographer of the moment Justin Peck offers Helix set to a score by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Millepied participates with Sarabande for four male dancers while Martha Graham’s Duets draws duets from the legendary choreographer’s Diversion of Angels and Canticle for Innocent Comedians. These shows mark LADP’s return from performances in Texas and precede the troupe’s departure for France. The designation of LADP as this venue’s resident company and activities at the troupe’s downtown studios are encouraging signs that the name reflects the troupe setting down roots and not just branding for tours. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Arts, 9390 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Thurs.-Sat., April 5-7, 7:30 p.m. $45-$125. http://thewallis.org.

L.A. Dance Project. Photo by Rose Eichenbaum.
L.A. Dance Project. Photo by Rose Eichenbaum.

1.  A Man.In.Motion

A member of the UCLA faculty since last fall, multiple award-winning choreographer Kyle Abraham leaves the classroom to bring a performance/demonstration to the stage. In Dearest Home, Abraham and his choreography for Abraham.In.Motion bring his signature blending of hip-hop and classical dance, plus perhaps something new that has emerged from his faculty sojourn with the next generation of dancers and dancemakers. UCLA Ralph Freud Playhouse, 225 Charles E Young Dr. East, Westwood; Thurs.-Fri., April 5-6, 8 p.m., Sat., April 7, 3 & 8 p.m., $59. https://www1.ticketmaster.com.

           Other dance of note:

 Fans of live dance, dance on film, and folk who like to go to the beach will all find much to love as this year’s Dance Camera West Film Festival adds To the Sea: Dance Concerts on the Pier, a live performance component curated by choreographer Jacob Jonas and his eponymous Jacob Jonas The Company. The film component begins Thursday with a screening of international short films at UCLA’s Fowler Museum then shifts to Santa Monica’s Laemmle Theaters. The live dance performances next Friday through Sunday are at the Santa Monica Pier. Announced local and visiting companies including Pilobolus, L. A. Conteporary Dance, Rubberlegz, Emily Kikta from New York City Ballet, the aptly named Seaweed Sisters, and Jonas’ troupe. The pier performances are free and reservations are recommended.  The film screenings are ticketed. Complete details, tickets and reservations at http://www.dancecamerawest.org.  International short films at Fowler Museum, 308 Charles E. Young Dr. North, Westwood; Thurs., April 12, 8 p.m., $25. To the Sea: Dance Concerts on the Pier, Santa Monica Pier, 200 Santa Monica Pier A, Santa Monica; Fri.-Sun., April 13-15, 6:30 p.m., free with reservation. Laemmle Film Center, 1332 2nd St., Santa Monica; Fri., April 13, 8 p.m., Sat., April 14, noon & 3 p.m., Sun., April 15, noon, 1:30 p.m. & 3 p.m. $12.  http://www.dancecamerawest.org/.

Jacob Jonas The Company's "To The Sea: Dance Concerts on the Pier". Photo by Jacob Jonas.
Jacob Jonas The Company’s “To The Sea: Dance Concerts on the Pier”. Photo by Jacob Jonas.

Choreographer Hilary Thomas and her Lineage Dance have never shied away from tackling emotionally challenging subjects in honest, insightful and touching ways whether the topic was suicide or homelessness. In Life After Death for the Living, Thomas explores the journeys of three women grappling with finding new life after the death of a loved one. Lineage Performance Space, 89 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena; Sat., April 7 & 14, 8 p.m., Sun., April 8 & 15, 7 p.m., $20 in advance, $25 at door; $15 students & seniors in advance, $20 students & seniors at door. http://www.lineagepac.org.

Lineage Dance. Photo courtesy of the artists.
Lineage Dance. Photo courtesy of the artists.

While Adolphe Adam’s ballet score is referenced by composer Philip Miller, the music for South African choreographer Dada Masilo’s version of Giselle, involves African drums and vocals along with a cello, violin, and harp. Masilo who choreographed and stars, keeps the architecture of the plot with a young village girl seduced then betrayed by a young man already betrothed, after she dies, the girl is resurrected amid other similarly jilted ghosts. This version shifts the action from Europe to South Africa, foregoes toe shoes for bare feet, and recalibrates the theme from betrayal and forgiveness to betrayal and revenge. There is no credit for the other dancers or the company in the press material. The theater website cautions the show contains adult material and nudity. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Thurs-Sat., April 12-14, 7:30 p.m., $45-$125. 310-746-4000. http://thewallis.org.

Dado Masilo's "Giselle". Photo by Stella Olivier.
Dado Masilo’s “Giselle”. Photo by Stella Olivier.

For its debut performance, White Crane Dance Theatre offers Mirroring The Inside. Inspired by her mother’s physical struggles  with a body that no longer responded in the usual ways after a stroke, choreographer Nicole Mathis and the dancers explore restorative “chi” cultivated through Tai Chi and Qi Gong. Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; Fri.-Sat., April 6-7, 8 p.m., $20. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mirroring-the-inside-tickets-42918983836.

Samantha Mohr in Hi, Solo #6. Photo by Alexx Shilling.
Samantha Mohr in Hi, Solo #6. Photo by Alexx Shilling.

Co-curated by alexx shilling and devika vasanthi wickremesinghe, Hi, Solo #6 offers three-minute solos from ten artists. This edition showcases Gustine Fudickar, Levi Gonzalez, Peter Hernandez, Lindsey Lollie, Perin McNelis, Daniel Miramontes, Darrian O’Reilly, Kristianne Salcines, Stacy Dawson Stearns, and Samuel Wentz. Pieter, 420 W. Avenue 33, Lincoln Heights; Sat., April 7, 8:30 & 9:30 p.m., free with non-monetary contribution to the free bar or boutique. https://pieterpasd.com.

A celebrated performer, choreographer and artistic director of Mexico City’s Contradanza, Cecilia Appleton is in town for a series of masterclasses and a free showing. Mimoda Studios, 5774 W. Pico Blvd., Mid-City; Sat., April 7, 2 p.m., free.

theatre dybbuk's "lost tribes". Photo by Taso Papadakis.
theatre dybbuk’s “lost tribes”. Photo by Taso Papadakis.

Movement from choreographer Kai Hazelwood plays a role in theatre dybbuk’s new original work lost tribes which concludes a city-wide tour of art galleries and synagogues. The cast of actors, dancers, musicians and scholars explore tales of the lost tribes of Israel. Full details at http://www.theatredybbuk.org. Temple Israel of Hollywood, 7300 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., April 7, 8 p.m., Sun., April 8, 7 p.m., $12. http://www.theatredybbuk.org.

Award-winning dancer Vijayalakshmi brings classical dance from Southern India in Mohiniyattam: Dance of the Divine Enchantress. Norton Simon Museum, 411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Sat., April 7, 6 p.m., free w/museum admission ($15, $12 seniors, free for students & age 18 and under). https://www.nortonsimon.org.

The shoeless young lady who marries a prince, Cinderella, is the spring show from the respected pre-professional company Maple Youth Ballet. With choreography by former American Ballet Theatre soloist, now artistic director Charles Maple, the young, well-trained dancers take the stage. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine; Sat., April 7, 1:30 & 6:30 p.m., $26-$32. http://thebarclay.org.

In Last Dance the Show, Aaron Cash solos as three forgotten dance legends. Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach; Sun., April 8 & 15, 3 p.m., Sold out as of press time.

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