Live This Week

Defying description

A performance that declines to fit into easy catagorization, Difficult Grace brings together cellist/performer Seth Parker Woods and choreographer Roderick George for a blend of dance, film, text, and visual art. Oh, and a cello. Source material includes the historic newspaper The Chicago Defender as well as the Great Migration as the South enacted and imposed Jim Crow and other elements of segregation. UCLA Glorya Kaufman Dance Center, 120 Westwood Plaza, Westwood; Sun., Dec. 4, 7 pm, $49.

Seth Parker Woods. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

Seth Parker Woods. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

Release the endorphins!

Almost everyone who dances will attest it makes them feel better. That common sense is reinforced by scientific explanations about dance prompting brains to release pleasure-sensation endorphins. Benita Bike’s DanceArt brings that wisdom to share in this family-friendly performance. The program includes two dances, a Q&A, and a chance to try  some moves. It’s part of this venue’’s charge as a STEM-based children’s museum. While STEM is short for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, with Bike and similar efforts, perhaps the museum should add “Arts” to its title and make it STEAM? Limited free museum entry tickets available with pre-registration including name & number in party sent to Discovery Cube Los Angeles, 11800 Foothill Blvd., Sylmar, Sat., Dec. 3, 2 pm, free with museum entry.

Benita Bike’s DanceArt. Photo by Dean Wallraff

Benita Bike’s DanceArt. Photo by Dean Wallraff

Folkloric seasons

Bringing seasonal mariachi music and Mexican folkloric dance to the stage, DanzArts Sabor México Dance Company joins Sol de México de José Hernández and Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles in Merry-Achi Christmas. Cerritos Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Dr., Cerritos; Sat., Dec. 3, 7 pm, Sun., Dec. 4, 2 pm, $35-$86.

DanzArts Sabor México Dance Company. Photo courtesy of the artists.

DanzArts Sabor México Dance Company. Photo courtesy of the artists.

And This Week’s Nutcrackers 

The Pros

This marks the first season for new artistic director Melissa Barak as Los Angeles Ballet opens its 17th season with the Nutcracker choreographed by the former co-artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary. Set in 1912 Los Angeles, the production tours metro LA with performances in Glendale, Redondo Beach, Westwood, and Hollywood (with a live orchestra). The approach has proved successful bringing L.A.’s own professional ballet company to its audience rather than expecting folks to fight gridlocked holiday traffic. The superb company dancers have proven themselves a home team to root for and now has new leadership. At the Alex Theater, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Dec. 3, 6 pm, Sun., Dec. 4, 2 pm. Also at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., Dec. 10, noon & 5 pm, Sun., Dec. 11, noon. Also at UCLA Royce Hall, Westwood; Fri., Dec. 16, 8 pm, Sat.-Sun., Dec. 17-18, noon & 5 pm. Also at Dolby Theatre, Hollywood & Highland, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Thurs., Dec. 22, 2 pm, Fri., Dec. 23, 2 & 8 pm, Sat., Dec. 24, noon,  Mon., Dec. 26, 2 pm, $44-$144, discounts for seniors, students, children under 12 years, & military.

Los Angeles Ballet. Photo by Reed Hutchinson

Los Angeles Ballet. Photo by Reed Hutchinson

Choreographer Laurence Blake and artistic director Victoria Koenig created Inland Pacific Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker that has become an Inland Empire tradition. IPB’s professional dancers are joined by students from IPB’s respected ballet academy. At Lewis Family Playhouse, Victory Gardens Cultural Center, 12505 Cultural Center Dr., Rancho Cucamonga; Sat., Dec. 3 & 10, 2 & 7:30 pm, Sun., Dec. 4 & 11, 2 pm., $70-$86 Also at Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside; Sat., Dec. 17, 2 pm & 7:30 pm, Sun., Dec. 18, 2 pm $24-$84, discounts for seniors, students, groups & children 12 & under. Info at Tickets at

American Contemporary Ballet Debuted in 2017, ACB returns at a new venue with The Nutcracker Suite, a one hour, immersive experience.ACB Studios, ACB Studios, Two California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave., 28th Floor, downtown; Thur. & Fri., Dec. 1-2, 8 pm, Sat.-Sun., 2 & 5 pm, thru Thurs.-Fri., Dec. 22-23, 8 pm, then Sat. Dec. 24, 1 pm $65-$140.

American Contemporary Ballet - Waltz of the Flowers in Lincoln Jones's "The Nutcracker Suite" - Photo by Anastasia Petukhova

American Contemporary Ballet – Waltz of the Flowers in Lincoln Jones’s “The Nutcracker Suite” – Photo by Anastasia Petukhova

And More Nuts All Over

Hot Chocolate Nutcracker Debbie Allen’s take on the classic tale is presented as part of a gala fundraiser at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Thurs.-Fri., Dec. 1-2, 7:30 pm, Sat., Dec. 3, 2 & 7:30 pm, Sun., Dec. 4, 2 pm, $50-$125.

Westside Ballet  Yvonne Mounsey and Rosemary Valaire, the late founders of this respected training company, created a Victorian Christmas card version of the Nutcracker.  The young dancers perform with the Santa Monica College Symphony. Professional guests share the lead with student dancers.  The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 3-4, 1 & 5 pm, Sun., $50.

Palos Verdes Ballet  Norris Theatre, 27570 Norris Center Dr., Rolling Hills Estates; Sat., Dec. 3, 7 pm, Sun., Dec. 4, 1 & 5 pm, $42, $28 children.

Degas Dance Studio  California Performing Arts Education Center, 2855 W. Mulholland Hwy., Calabasas; Sat., Dec. 3, 5 pm, Sun., Dec. 4, 1 pm, $29-$45.

Sunrise Ballet  Servite Theater, 1952 La Palma Ave., Anaheim; Sat., Dec. 3, noon & 4 pm, Sun., Dec. 4, noon, $25.

Ballet Etudes  Huntington Beach Historic Theater, 1905 Main St., Huntington Beach; Sat., Dec. 3, 2 & 7 pm, Sun., Dec. 4, 2 pm, Sun., Dec. 11, 2 & 7 pm, $30-$40.

Ventura County Ballet  Rancho Campana Performing Arts Center, 4235 Mar Vista Dr., Camarillo; Sat., Dec. 3, 2 & 7 pm, Sat., Dec. 10, 3 pm, Sun., Dec. 11, 1 & 5 pm, $30-$40, discounts for children, seniors & military.

4S Dance Company  California Center for the Arts, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido; Thurs.-Fri., Dec. 8-9, 7 pm, Sat., Dec. 10, 2:30 & 7 pm, $30-$45.

Inland Empire Contemporary Ballet  Yucaipa Performing Arts Center, 12062 California St., Yucaipa; Fri., Dec. 2, 7 pm, Sat., Dec. 3, 2 & 6 pm, Sun., Dec. 4, 4 pm, $20-$35.

A Peek At Next Week

West Side Story’s original Anita, Chicago’s original Velma, not to mention her show-stealing turns in Bye, Bye, Birdie, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and Sweet Charity, Chita Rivera brings her show Chita, The Rhythm of My Life for one performance.  Backed by her long-time trio and with some unidentified special guests, Rivera reflects on her long career and recreates notable moments.  Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Sun., Dec. 11, 2 pm, $39-$99.

And more Nutcracker ballets. Check our Nutcracker Round-Up for upcoming performance from professional productions, training companies, and local dance and ballet studios.  nuts-and-more-nuts/

Feature Image: Benita Bike’s DanceArt Photo by Dean Wallraff

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