A modern dance legend turns 100 in Westwood, barefoot ballet in Northridge, dance of the African diaspora in Brentwood, going under the sea in Riverside, dancing Chinese history downtown, family-friendly folkloric in Malibu, and more SoCal dance this week.
5. A Chinese folk tale from a French visitor
In La Fresque (The Painting on the Wall), internationally celebrated choreographer Angelin Preljocaj explores an ancient Chinese folk tale of a young man so entranced by a fresco he is transported into the picture and romances one of the five depicted women until he is forced to return to his own world. Despite its name, Ballet Preljocaj’s dancers spend this ballet in bare feet with the women’s long hair mostly down as the movement draws on a variety of dance styles and motifs. The Soraya, Cal State University Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Thurs., April 18, 8 p.m., $39-$94. https://www.thesoraya.org/calendar/details/ballet-preljocaj-la-fresque.
4. Dance from a diaspora outpost
The African diaspora, particularly music and dance rooted in the African-American experience in Brazil is the home turf of LA-based Viver Brasil Dance Company, one of the groups performing in Extra Ancestral. The show includes music and dance reflecting the far reaching influence of Pan-Africanism. The event is offered in conjunction with the exhibit Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite which can be viewed from 5 p.m. until the show begins. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Sun., Apr. 14, 7 p.m. $20. (310) 440-4500. https://www.skirball.org/programs/music/extra-ancestral.
3. Fractured wholeness
Drawing on her varied background as a visual and performance artist as well as a psychotherapist, Rikki Rothenberg’s Divinjnowshoe considers and celebrates the inconsistencies and contradictions inherent in the meaningful whole that is one’s “self”. Pieter, 420 W. Avenue 33, Suite 10, Lincoln Heights; Sat., Apr.13, 8:30 p.m., non-monetary donation to free bar or boutique. https://pieterpasd.com.
2. Still to be danced at 100
Modern dance legend Merce Cunningham would have been 100 years old this year. Before he died in 2009, Cunningham declared that his company would disband after his death. The company is gone, but for Cunningham’s centenary the Trust the choreographer created to protect and promote his dance works selected three theaters for a semi-simultaneous, one-night event. Along with New York and London, UCLA’s Royce Hall was anointed as the third venue. For this special Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event each venue hosts 25 dancers performing a selection of 100 solos by Cunningham with live music. Anyone not heading to London or New York can mosey to Westwood or catch the live stream at https://www.mercecunningham.org, but dance live is always best. UCLA Royce Hall, 10745 Dickson Court, Westwood; Tues., Apr. 16, 8 p.m., $29-$59. https://cap.ucla.edu/.
1. Locavore dance takes centerstage
This year’s line up of top L.A.-based dance companies cements the Los Angeles Dance Festival as SoCal’s pre-eminent dance festival. Curated by Deborah Brockus, the month-long fest’s main draw is this weekend’s three shows with Diavolo, paired with String Theory, BODYTRAFFIC and Ate9 (Fri), Invertigo Dance Theatre joined by Kybele, Rosanna Gamson/World Wide, Backhausdance and BrockusRED (Sat)., and CARLON with Kevin Williamson + Company and Pennington Dance Group (Sun), and more. These are local companies being presented at major venues like the Broad, the Wallis, the Music Center and at much more expensive ticket prices. This festival is a must for anyone who wants to know who’s who in L.A. dance and what is going on in L.A.’s increasingly nationally profiled dance community. A complete line up of companies, plus Fringe Festival participants later in April, master classes, and much more at https://ladancefest.org. Luckman Fine Arts, 5151 State University Dr., E.L.A.; Fri.-Sat., Apr. 12-13, 8:30 p.m., Sun., Apr. 14, 6:30 p.m., $25. https://ladancefest.org.
Other dance of note:
Choreographers Eric Skinner and Daniel Kirk transport Inland Pacific Ballet under the sea and onto the shore in this retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen’s classic The Little Mermaid. Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Dr., Rancho Cucamonga; Sat., Apr. 13, 2& 7:30 p.m., Sun., Apr. 14, 2 p.m. Also at Bridges Auditorium, Pomona College, 450 North College Way, Claremont; Sat. Apr. 27, 2 & 7:30 p.m., Sun., Apr. 28, 2 p.m., $26-$52. http://www.ipballet.org/mermaidPage.php.
One of SoCal’s most popular folkloric ensembles, Pacifico Dance Company brings its blend of traditional and contemporary dance from Mexico in a family friendly format. Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; Sun., Apr. 14, 2 p.m., $20-$40, $20 age 17 and under. https://arts.pepperdine.edu/events/2018-2019-season/pacifico-dance-company.htm.
Promising to distill millennia of Chinese culture in a swirl of colorful costumes and in sync dancing, the touring production Shen Yun 2019 continues is visit to local venues. Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Wed., Fri. & Sat., Apr. 10, 12 & 13, 7:30 p.m., Thurs. & Sat., Apr. 11 & 13, 2 p.m., Sun., Apr. 14, 1 p.m., $80-$220. Also at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Tues.-Sun., Apr. 16-28, (dates & times at website), $80-$200. Also at The Soroya, Cal State University Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Tue.-Wed. Apr. 30-May 1, $80-$165. Also at Dolby Theatre, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., May 3, 7:30 p.m., Sat., May 4, 2 & 7:30 p.m., Sun., May 5, 1 p.m., $80-$200. Also at McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Dr., Palm Desert; Thu. & Sat., May 9 & 11, 7:30 p.m., Fri.-Sat., May 10-11, 2 p.m., $80-$165. https://www.shenyun.com/la.
Feature photo: L.A. Dance Festival’s BrockusRED. Photo by Denise Leitner.
Ann Haskins Blog appears at CulturalWeekly.com