New York’s comeback ballet company in Santa Monica, scientists’ “Me Too” in West L.A., Argentinian dance deconstructed downtown, flamenco in East Hollywood, a tribute to David Bowie downtown, and more SoCal dance this week.

5. Never say you’re sari

With the provocative title Sweating Saris, Ramya Harishanker and Dr. Priya Srinivasan engage in a multi-media drenched duet examining the history of dance from India in the U.S in relation to anti-immigration policies. Presented by the Arpana Foundation, the event is based on Srinivasan’s research and book tracing Indian dance from the 1880’s to the present. Highways Performing Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Sat., April 21, 7:30 p.m., $20, $15 students & seniors.

Sweating Saris' Rmya Harishanker. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Sweating Saris’ Rmya Harishanker. Photo courtesy of the artist.

4. And the feet go on

Living up to its name, the long-running, mostly monthly Forever Flamenco returns with dancers Fanny Ara, Antonio Granjero, and Reyes “La Reyes” Barrios who also directs. Singer Antonio de Jerez, percussionist Gerardo Morales plus guitarists Juan Moro and Antonio Triana complete the cast. The Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., East Hollywood; Sun., April 22, 8 p.m., $40-$50, $30 seniors & students.

Forever Flamenco's Fanny Ara. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Forever Flamenco’s Fanny Ara. Photo courtesy of the artist.

3. Tales of transgender scientists

Choreographer Donna Sternberg has found imaginative ways for dance and science to co-exist. In The Vortex, the dancermaker and her eponymous Donna Sternberg & Dancers explore true stories of scientists who are also women, people of color and gender nonconforming in a world dominated by its own stereotypes. A post performance discussion includes scientists and the choreographer. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Fri.-Sat., April 20-21, 8 p.m., $25, $20 students & seniors.

Donna Sternberg & Dancers' "The Vortex". Photo courtesy of the artists.

Donna Sternberg & Dancers’ “The Vortex”. Photo courtesy of the artists.

2. They’re back baby!!

The story of Dance Theatre of Harlem reads like ballet’s “comeback kid”. Founded by Arthur Mitchell after he retired as the first African American member of New York City Ballet, DTH made its mark proving Mitchell was not an exception. DTH developed African American ballet dancers who danced classical ballet, became known for their mastery of George Balanchine’s neo-classical style, and stretched the borders of ballet into realms of contemporary and street dance. Financial stresses forced the company to retrench for several years, suspending the professional company and continuing only its ballet school and training performances. In 2011, the professional company returned. Now back in full stride with artistic director Virginia Johnson (who reigned as DTH’s ballerina before founding Pointe Magazine), DTH stops off on its current international tour at two local venues. The program is more contemporary than classical with choreography from Robert Garland, Ulysses Dove and Darrell Grande Moultrie. The ranks of the company’s technically superb dancers include many of those students DTH continued training during the performance hiatus and who were beautifully primed when DTH was ready for its comeback. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Fri., April 20, 7:30 p.m., Sat., April 21, 2 & 7:30 p.m., $60-$115.

Dance Theatre of Harlem. Photo by Rachel Neville.

Dance Theatre of Harlem. Photo by Rachel Neville.

1. Touched by stardust

Today he’s a celebrated choreographer and artistic director of the respected contemporary dance troupe Complexions, but the music of David Bowie was the soundtrack of Dwight Rhoden’s teen years. Rhoden pays tribute to Bowie with the West Coast premiere of Stardust, the centerpiece of the company’s visit. Slowly simmering in Rhoden’s creative juices for some time, the project had moved to a front burner before Bowie’s death in 2016. The resulting love letter draws on nine Bowie songs including Lazarus, Changes, Life on Mars, Space Oddity, and Young America. While Stardust is the big draw, the program also includes Exploration of Love and Alliances, plus Gutter Glitter, a title Bowie undoubtedly would have liked. Music Center Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri.-Sat., April 21, 7:30 p.m., Sun., April 22, 2 p.m., $34-$138. (ed note: apparently, Gutter Glitter was removed from this program)

Complexions' "Stardust". Photo by Hagos Rush.

Complexions’ “Stardust”. Photo by Hagos Rush.

Other dance of note:

Born in Argentina and trained by Pina Bausch in Germany, Diana Szeinblum returned home and teamed up with fellow dancers to deconstruct the machismo that dominates Argentinian dance forms. In Adentro! (rough English translation is “inside”), the choreographer and two cohorts explore and reinvent folk traditions with a soundscore by Axel Krygier and Simón Díaz. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., downtown; Thurs.-Sat., April 26-28, 8:30 p.m., $20, $16 students.

Diana Szeinblum's Adentro". Photo courtesy of the artist.

Diana Szeinblum’s Adentro”. Photo courtesy of the artist.


The always welcome Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater arrives with its cache of polished, beautiful dancers. Starting Thursday, the company performs repertory programs, but the opening salvo is a low cost 60-minute lecture demonstration on Wednesday featuring debut choreography from company member Jamar Roberts titled Members Don’t Get Weary, Ella from artistic director Robert Battle set to classic Ella Fitzgerald recordings, and the company’s signature gospel-infused Revelations from company founder Alvin Ailey. The repertory programs all close with Revelations and overall include five west coast premieres. Thursday and Sunday reprise Roberts’ new work, Battle’s In/Side, and Twyla Tharp’s The Golden Section. Friday and Saturday evenings include Talley Beatty’s Stack-Up, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano’s Victoria, and Battle’s Ella. Saturday matinee has Billy Wilson’s The Winter in Lisbon, Battle’s Mass and Ella. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Wed., April 18, 7:30 p.m., $19-$59. Thurs.-Fri., April 19-20, 7:30 p.m., Sat., April 21, 2 & 7:30 p.m., Sun., April 22, 1 p.m., $29-$139.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

They are faculty, but also respected choreographers as Rebecca Bryant, Keith Johnson, Rebecca Leme, Julio Medina, Sophie Monat, Andrew Baca and guest artist Melecio Estrella showcase their danceworks. Cal State University Long Beach, Martha B. Knoebel Theatre, 6200 E. Atherton Blvd., Long Beach; Wed.-Fri., April 25-27, Sat., April 28, 2 & 8 p.m., $20, $16 students.

Melancholia is the focus of Venzuelan choreographer/dancer Louis Lara Malvacias’ latest Me, An Idiot. Pieter 420 W. Avenue 33, Lincoln Heights; Sat., April 21, 8:30 p.m., free with non-monetary donation to free bar or free boutique.

The modern dance troupe Benita Bike’s DanceArt brings its interactive program aimed at introducing dance to audiences in non-traditional venues. The dancers include Liza Barskaya, Rachele Donofrio, Sarah Gertler, Clare Kiklowicz and Trudy Niess. Los Angeles Mission College, 13356 Eldridge Ave., Sylmar; Thurs., April 26, 4:30 p.m., free.

Benita Bike's DanceArt. Photo courtesy of BBDA.

Benita Bike’s DanceArt. Photo courtesy of BBDA.

A cast of 24 dancers and musicians takes the stage as Tango Lovers returns with I am Tango. The Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., April 28, 8 p.m., $39-$120.

For Hawaiians, the “halau” isn’t just hula. It dates back to the Hawaiian cultural renaissance in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The ten member Halau O Kekuhi celebrates both the vigorous low slung hula style ‘aiha’a as well as chanting known as oli. Irvine Barclay Theatre. 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine; Sat., April 21, 8 p.m.; $39-$100.

That one-shoed heroine returns with a charming prince not far behind as Inland Pacific Ballet serves up its full-length Cinderella. Claremont Colleges, Bridges Auditorium, 450 N. College Way, Claremont; Sat., April 21, 2 & 7:30 p.m., Sun., April 22, 2 p.m., $26-$49.

Not technically dance, but the percussionists who perform as Stomp sure know how to move. The current iteration of the popular show returns. Hollywood Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Tues.-Fri., April 24-27, 8 p.m., Sat., April 28, 2 p.m., Sun., April 29, 1 & 6:30 p.m., $35-$135.

In sheer number of performers, stunning costumes and breath-taking precision, ShenYun is impressive, while its ties to Falun Dafa (Falun Gong) make it controversial in Chinese politics. The tour stops off at multiple SoCal venues. This week at Terrace Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; Fri., April 20, 7:30 p.m., Sat., April 21, 2 & 7:30 p.m., Sun., April 22, 1 p.m., $80-$180. Also at Valley Performing Arts Center, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Tues.-Wed., April 24-25, 7:30 p.m., $80-$130

Feature image: Complexions’ “Stardust”. Photo by Hagos Rush.

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