Site specific dance goes al fresco in Santa Monica, Griffith Park and Santa Ana; beloved dance venue celebrates 35; flamenco for Japanese disaster relief; contemporary ballet downtown; El Sereno hosts works in progress; Hollywood fests on the fringe; more SoCal dance this week, plus a peek at next week.

Live This Week

Take the Highways

San Francisco-based Sean Dorsey Dance stops off on an international tour celebrating its 20th anniversary to help celebrate Highways’ 35th anniversary as an incubator for adventurous dance and dancemakers, well, like Dorsey’s. Known for its technical prowess, inventive costuming, and impactful presentation of queer issues, for this special occasion, the company brings the SoCal premiere of The Lost Art of Dreaming. Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., June 7-8, 8:30 pm, $35, $25 seniors/students.

Sean Dorsey Dance- THE LOST ART OF DREAMING - Photo by Kegan Marling.

Sean Dorsey Dance- THE LOST ART OF DREAMING – Photo by Kegan Marling.

Into the park

Employing the environs of this ocean view park, the contemporary company Donna Sternberg & Dancers presents Warming. Choreographer Donna Sternberg has a long history translating science and its human impacts into accessible dance. The site-specific event will move through various park sites for short dance sequences considering the need for water and consequence of water shortages including wildfires. Presented in partnership with the group Sustainable Works, the afternoon includes a post-performance discussion about best practices for beneficial environment stewardship, plus time for a walk on the beach or a ferris wheel ride on the pier. Tongva Park, 1615 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica;  Sat., June 8, 3 pm, free with required reservation at

Donna Sternberg & Dancers. Photo by Denise Leitner

Donna Sternberg & Dancers. Photo by Denise Leitner

Into the garden

On Saturday, Backhausdance officially unveils Glow/Brillo, this year’s new site-specific work developed in this museum and its lush gardens. The Friday dress rehearsal is also open for viewing. Dress rehearsal and the performance are free. Additional events at the opening are on the website. Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana; Open dress rehearsal Fri., June 7, 10 am to 1 pm, performance Sun., June 9 noon to 3 pm, free.

Backhausdance. Photo by Kira Bartoli

Backhausdance. Photo by Kira Bartoli

At the zoo

Site-specific Heidi Duckler Dance teams up with visual artist Kim West for Unfurling, set at Griffith Park’s Old LA Zoo. Opened in 1912, the old zoo closed in 1966 when the present zoo opened. Garbed in highlighter yellow headgear and more, HDD performers will guide the audience through the old zoo’s remains and the artist’s color-filled installation of fabric flows, floral illustrations, and a pieced ceramic mural. Picnics will be available for purchase starting at 5 pm or bring your own. Outdoor garb and footwear for walking are recommended. Old LA Zoo, Griffith Park, 4801 Griffith Park Dr., Los Feliz; Sat., June 8, 7 pm, $15.

Heidi Duckler Dance. Photo courtesy of the artists

Heidi Duckler Dance. Photo courtesy of the artists

All that glitters

American Contemporary Ballet
 artistic director Lincoln Jones has long sought to emulate the legendary ballet choreographer George Balanchine, both by bringing in works by Balanchine and in Jones’ own choreography for the company. In his most ambitious and perhaps audacious effort, Jones latest, Sapphires, purports to provide a fourth act to Balanchine’s Jewels. Set to Schoenberg’s Suite for Strings, Sapphires can be judged alongside excerpts from La Source, an actual Balanchine ballet. Bank of America Plaza, 333 S. Hope St., C-150, downtown; Thurs.-Sat., 8 pm, June 6-June 29, $60-$140. SEASON XII 2023 – 2024

American Contemporary Ballet. Photo by Will Davidson.

American Contemporary Ballet. Photo by Will Davidson.

Together again

Renewing last year’s successful collaboration with the adventurous Long Beach Opera, choreographer/artistic director Janet Eilber provides original choreography and the Martha Graham Dance Company provides the movement for the West Coast premiere of IPSA DIXIT. A 2017 finalist for a Pulitzer prize, composer Kate Soper drew on text from philosophers including Aristotle for what the New York Times’ Zachery Woolfe described as “playful,” and an “ambitious, ingenious piece.” Art Theatre Long Beach, 2025 E. 4th St., Long Beach; Sat., June 8, 7:30 pm, Sun., June 9, 2:30 pm, $45-$165, Ipsa Dixit: A Seminal Philosophy Opera — Long Beach Opera

Lloyd Knight and So Young An in Martha Graham’s Diversion of Angels - Photo by David Bazemore

Lloyd Knight and So Young An in Martha Graham’s Diversion of Angels – Photo by David Bazemore

Watch out for those stairs

Notching a dozen operas choreographed for the LA Opera, Kitty McNamee provides the dance moves for the highly anticipated production of Turandot. This opera always has a staircase. For this production, the sets by artist David Hockney include a zig-zag staircase for the dancers, as well as the singers, to navigate. Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Wed. & Sat., June 5 & 8, 7:30 pm, $39 to $374.

LA Opera’s “Turandot.” Photo by Cory Weaver

LA Opera’s “Turandot.” Photo by Cory Weaver

In the works

The salon event First Look with Myles Lavallee offers a chance to see choreography in progress. The informal showcase presents resident choreographers with LA Contemporary Dance Company working with dancers on new dance works. Stomping Ground, 5453 Alhambra Ave., El Sereno; Wed., June 12, 2 pm, $5.

Miles Lavalee. Photo courtesy of the artist

Miles Lavalee. Photo courtesy of the artist

All electric

Timed to coincide with First Friday events on nearby Abbot Kinney Boulevard, High Voltage offers an eclectic, ever-changing line-up of performers, often including dance and movement performers. This edition includes Reena Desai, The Ramón Show, Susan Angelo’s Shakespeare Gymnasium, and Lydia Li. Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; Fri., June 7, 8 pm,$15.

Flamenco for Japan

With guest artists dancer Yolanda Arroyo and guitarist Paco Arroyo, Mikaela Kai Flamenco marks its 15th anniversary recital titled el Jardin del flamenco. Concert proceeds go to Japan’s disaster recovery. Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro; Sun., June 9, 2 pm, $40.

Yolanda Arroyo. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Yolanda Arroyo. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Book to stage

Following up on the burlesque parody, The Empire Strips Back, Russall T Beattie riffs on his coffee table book that tracked Gotham’s caped crusaders in comic books from 1919. What originally was announced as Gotham Follies of 1939, now is billed as Batette Follies of 1939. There will be dancing with vaudeville and burlesque along with irreverent parodies of the times and comic book personalities. Montalban Theatre, 1615 Vine St., Hollywood; Thurs.-Sun., June 6-July 14, 8 pm, $39-$154.

French Fridays

Promising a French flavored performance, Cabaret Versatile presents Ohlala! Nights. Cat’s Crawl, 660 Heliotrope Dr., East Hollywood; Fridays, June 7 thru 28, 87

Hollywood Fringe Festival

Drawing comparisons between the career and legacy of legendary ballerina Anna Pavlova and her signature solo Dying Swan, Devil’s Dice Productions brings Death of a Swan to the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Maddie Natoli is Anna, Mason Williams is Death. The show won Best Dance/Physical Movement at the 2023 Tucson Fringe Festival. Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave., Hollywood; Sun., June 9, 8:30 pm, Fri., June 14, 10 pm, Fri., June 21, 8:45 pm, Sun., June 23, 12:45 pm, Sat., June 29, 5:15 pm

Ashley Wren Collins provided the choreography for the seven member cast of the Hollywood Fringe Festival event Foxy Ladies Love Boogie 70’s Explosion!  Three Clubs Stage Room, 1123 N. Vine St., Hollywood; Sun., June 9, 7 pm, Sat., June 15, 8 pm, Sun., June 16, 4:30 pm, Fri., June 21, 10:15 pm, Mon., June 24, 7 pm, $25.

Employing movement and magic, Liz Toonkell appears in Magic for Animals, part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. LGBT Center, Davidson/Valenti Theatre, 1125 N. McFadden Pl., Hollywood; Sat., June 8, 9:30 pm, Thurs., June 13, 8 pm, Sat., June 22, 5 pm, Fri., June 28, 10:30 pm, Sun., June 30, 3:30 pm, $15.

Liz Toonkell. Photo courtesy of the artist

Liz Toonkell. Photo courtesy of the artist

The mental health and trauma of a single individual and those around her are the subject of DRIP. The cast in this Hollywood Fringe Festival entry includes Gia Ochsenbein, Sadie Luce, Melody Tay, Romy Kim, Christopher Martin, and Ashwath Ram. Actors Company (Other Space Theater), 916 N. Formosa Ave., Hollywood; Tues., June 11, 8:30 pm, Sat., June 15, 3 pm, Fri., June 21, 11:30 pm, Sat., June 29, 9 pm, Sun., June 30, 5:30 pm, $15.

Suggesting a blend of movement and yoga, Mayuri Bhandari embodies The Anti “Yogi” for the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave., Hollywood; Sat., June 8, 4:45 pm, Sun., June 16, 6:30 pm, Thurs., June 20, 7 pm, $15.

A Peek at Next Week (June 14-20)

Jay Carlon at Grand Performances, 350 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., June 21, 6 pm, free.

The Joffrey Ballet – Anna Karenina at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri.-Sat., June 21-22, 7:30 pm, Sat.-Sun., June 22-23, 2 pm, $34-$138. Music Center | Home Page

Joffrey Ballet - Victoria Jaiani, Alberto Velazquez and Dylan Velazquez in "Anna Karenina" - Photo by Cheryl Mann.

Joffrey Ballet – Victoria Jaiani, Alberto Velazquez and Dylan Velazquez in “Anna Karenina” – Photo by Cheryl Mann.

San Pedro City Ballet 
– Night & Don Quixote (abridged) at Torrance Cultural Arts Foundation, 3330 Civic Center Dr., Torrance; Fri., June 14, 7 pm, Sat., June 15, 2 pm, $45.

Esgrima de Machete at Pieter, 2701 N. Broadway, downtown; Sun., June 16, 2:30 pm, free w/reservation at

Featured photo:  Donna Sternberg & Dancers – photo by Denise Leitner

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