A trio of compelling contemporary choreographers in Beverly Hills; minoritarian artists gather in downtown; a neo-classical ballet double bill in Redondo Beach; jazz dancers assemble in Carson; garden dancing in Santa Ana; young dancers in Hancock Park, Irvine, and North Hollywood; more So Cal dance this week, and a peek at next week.

Live This Week

Choreographer triptych

The contemporary company BODYTRAFFIC brings a program seeking community amid today’s divisive cultural and political forces. The trio of works showcase the taut technique and vibrant artistry of this LA-based ensemble. In The One to Stay With, choreographers Baye & Asa took their inspiration from Empire of Pain, Patrick Radden Keefe’s plea for community in their chronicle of the toxic greed underlying the opioid crisis. A love story set against the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, Bloquea’o is the new work from dancemaker Joan Rodriguez. Choreographer Matthew Neenan’s A Million Voices set to iconic Peggy Lee vocals adroitly considers the duality of an individual being alone and as part of a group. Avalon Hollywood, 1735 N. Vine St., Hollywood; Thurs., May 29, 7:30 pm, $50. https://www.bodytraffic.com

BODYTRAFFIC. Photo courtesy of the artists

BODYTRAFFIC. Photo courtesy of the artists

Neo-classical pairing

Closing out the first season programmed by artistic director Melissa Barak, Los Angeles Ballet gives a nod to George  Balanchine’s luminous Serenade set to Tchaikovsky along with Firebird set to the Stravinsky score by choreographer Yuri Possokhov. This Firebird premiered at Oregon Ballet Theater while Possokhov was resident choreographer at San Francisco Ballet where the ballet also established itself as a popular part of SFB’s repertoire. LAB brings it to two more SoCal venues.  Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Redondo Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., May 25, 2 & 7:30 pm. Also at UCLA Royce Hall, 10745 Dickson Ct., Westwood; Sat., June 1, 2 & 7:30 pm, $76 to $137. https://www.losangelesballet.org/

Los Angeles Ballet's Lily Fife and Jake Ray as the Waltz Couple in "Serenade" - Photo © Cheryl Mann 2024.

Los Angeles Ballet – Photo © Cheryl Mann 2024

Getting together

In collaboration with Showbox, Primera Generación Dance Collective brings (de) Color Es 2024, an annual gathering with artists of color presenting multifaceted and multimedia artmaking. The event includes free dance workshops with the group’s talented artists. LINT Space, 1611 S. Hope St., downtown; Sat., May 25, 5 pm, $15-$20. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/de-color-es-tickets-880244554157

Primera Generación Dance Collective. Photo courtesy of the artists

Primera Generación Dance Collective

Novel dance

The opulence and excesses of the roaring 20’s (that’s the 1920s) in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby are evoked by choreographer Janet Roston’ and the dancers of Mixed eMotion Theatrix in Gatsby Redux. The site specific work returns to the elegant mansion that would fit right into the novel. Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Dr., Beverly Hills; Thurs.-Sun., May 30-June 2, 7 pm, $35 (reservations required). https://beverlyhills.org/1327/Gatsby-Redux

Mixed eMotion Theatrix - “Gatsby Redux” for Los Angeles Music Center, Moves After Dark. Performed in the Blue Ribbon Garden of Disney Hall - Photo Credit: Barry Weiss

Mixed eMotion Theatrix – “Gatsby Redux” for Los Angeles Music Center, Moves After Dark. Performed in the Blue Ribbon Garden of Disney Hall – Photo Credit: Barry Weiss

There will be jazz hands

In addition to bestowing a lifetime achievement award on beloved jazz dancer/choreographer/teacher Hama, the Jazz Dance Conference offers lots of workshops and concludes with two public concerts.  On Saturday a curated concert showcases submitted choreography.  On Sunday, the professional concert includes the presentation to Hama and performances by Los Angeles Jazz Company, Jazz Antiqua, Jazz Spectrum Dance Company, Hama Dance Center, Contempo Ballet, Brockus Red, and Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre. University Theater, Cal State Dominguez Hills, 1000 E. Victoria St., Carson; curated submissions on Sat., May 25, 6 pm, professional concert Sun., May 26, 7:30  $25 https://www.jazzdanceconferencewest.com/

Jazz Antiqua Dance - photo courtesy of the artists

Jazz Antiqua Dance – photo courtesy of the artists

Watch out for those stairs

Notching a dozen operas she has choreographed for the LA Opera, Kitty McNamee again provides the dance moves for the highly anticipated production of Turandot. The opera always has a staircase. For this production, the sets by artist David Hockney includes a zig-zag staircase for the dancers, as well as the singers, to navigate.  Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Thurs., May 30, 7:30 pm, Sun., June 2, 2 pm, Wed. & Sat., June 5 & 8, 7:30 pm, $39 to $374. https://www.laopera.org/performances/202324-season/turandot/

LA Opera’s “Turandot.” Photo courtesy of the artists

LA Opera’s “Turandot.” Photo courtesy of the artists

Those who wait

In the three act opera FORCE!, Anna Marie Whitehead provided the libretto, composition and choreography with multiple collaborators. Evolved from years performing inside and outside prisons, the work focuses on the women who wait for those inside. Disney Hall, REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., downtown; Thurs.-Sat., May 23-25, 8:30 pm, $30, livestream option Sat., 8:30 pm, $  https://www.redcat.org/events/2024/anna-martine-whitehead

Anna Martine Whitehead. Photo by Argenis Apolinario

Anna Martine Whitehead. Photo by Argenis Apolinario

Museum peek

In a few weeks, Backhausdance will offer this year’s new work developed in the environs of the museum and its lush gardens. In the meantime, with museum admission on Tuesday mornings, visitors can watch open rehearsals of Glow/Brillo and see how the new work is progressing. Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana; Tuesdays thru June 4, 10am to 1pm, included in museum admission.  https://www.backhausdance.org/

Backhausdance. Photo by Kira Bartoli

Backhausdance. Photo by Kira Bartoli

Youthful energy No. 1

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, California Dance Institute is one of SoCal’s most lauded dance and music programs for underserved youth. Based on the New York City dance education program established by famed New York City Ballet dancer Jacques d’Ambroise, this California version was founded and led by former Joffrey Ballet dancer Carole Vallesky. This benefit concert includes both dance and poetry from the young performers. Wilshire Ebell, 743 S. Lucerne Blvd., Hancock Park; Thurs., May 30, 7 pm, $15-$80 (top ticket includes post performance gala). https://www.californiadanceinstitute.org/ 

Versa-Style Dance Company. Photo courtesy of the artists

Versa-Style Dance Company. Photo courtesy of the artists

Youthful energy No. 2

A variety of street dance genres will be on view at Versa-Style Next Generation‘s Annual Culmination Showcase. In addition to choreography from program managers Leonardo “Inner-G” Flores and Aubrey “Siga” Mamaid and noted guest artists currently or formerly in the senior company, Versa Style Street Dance. While the youthful performers may not yet have reached their artistic peak, no one can match their fearless energy. The concert originally was a chance for the participants’ family and friends to see the year’s progress, and now is a chance for the wider public to view the next gen. Mihran K Studios, 5437 Satsuma Ave., North Hollywood; Sat., May 25, 3 pm, $5 suggested donation.  https://versastyledance.org/vs-next-generation/  

The Wooden Floor. Photo courtesy of the artists

The Wooden Floor. Photo courtesy of the artists

Youthful energy No. 3

This Orange County-based youth organization began as an after school program for at risk students and soon gained a reputation for the dance component of its various offerings. A change of name to The Wooden Floor did not alter its mission and it continues to boast a 100% high school graduation rate and immediately continuation on to higher education. Not to mention the notable choreographers attracted by the program who continue to set their works on these accomplished scholar/dancers at this, the 41st annual concert titled Onward. Friday’s ticket includes a pre-concert chat moderated by with choreographers Tristan Koepke and Momar Ndiaye moderated by program artistic director Jennifer Bassage Bonfil. The Irvine Barclay, UC Irvine, 4242 Campus Dr. Irvine; Thurs.-Fri., May 30-31, 8 pm, Sat., June 1, 2:30 & 8 pm, $10-$50. https://thewoodenfloor.org/annualconcert/

A Peek at Next Week (05-31 to June 6)

Martha Graham Dance Company with the Long Beach Opera – IPSA DIXIT at Art Theatre Long Beach, 2025 E. 4th St., Long Beach; Sat., June 1 & 8, 7:30 pm, Sun., June 9, 2:30 pm, $45-$165, https://www.longbeachopera.org/ipsa-dixit-new-production

BalletRED – Frequency Vol. 3 Royal Matrix at the Athletic Warehouse, 121 Waverly Dr., Pasadena, Fri.-Sat., May 31-June 1, 8 pm show, Sun., June 2, 6 pm, $75. https://www.ticketleap.events/tickets/balletred/royalmatrix

BalletRED. Photo courtesy of the artists

BalletRED. Photo courtesy of the artists

Luminario Ballet 
at Brockus Project Dance, 618B Moulton Ave., Lincoln Heights; Fri., May 31, 2 pm, $10. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/luminario-ballet-presents-abstract-emotions-and-storytelling-tickets-901699867577

Blue 13 Dance Company – Soliloquy at Heritage Square Museum, 3800 Homer St., Montecito Heights; Fri.-Sat., May 31-June 1, 8 pm, Sun., June 2, 7 pm, $25-$100. Blue13Dance.com

Blue13 Dance Company - Photo by Jordan Strauss

Blue13 Dance Company – Photo by Jordan Strauss

American Contemporary Ballet 
– Sapphires at 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

Bernard Brown & Wilfred ‘Willy’ Souly in Prelude to June 14th Concert – A Multi-Media Event at UCLA Royce Hall, 10745 Dickson Court, Westwood; Wed., June 5, 7 pm, free with reservation at https://afam.ucla.edu/event/prelude-to-juneteenth-day-celebration/

Kybele Dance Theater – Simayci at Highways, 1651 18th St, Santa Monica Fri., May 31, 7:30 pm, $35, $25 students/seniors. https://www.highwaysperformance.org/events

Kybele Dance Theater. Photo courtesy of the artist

Kybele Dance Theater. Photo courtesy of the artist

Max 10 
at Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; Mon., June 3, 7:30 pm, $10.  https://www.electriclodge.org/

Music Center Spotlight Grand Finale at Disney Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Tues., June 4, 7:30 pm, 7 pm, free w/reservation at https://www.musiccenter.org/tickets-free-events/tmc-arts/spotlight-grand-finale/.

Batette Follies of 1939 in Los Angeles at the Montalban Theatre, 1615 Vine St., Hollywood; Thurs.-Sun., June 6-July 14, 8 pm, $39-$154.  https://www.themontalban.com/

Featured photo:  Los Angeles Ballet in “Firebird” – photo by Cheryl Mann

Ann Haskins Blog appears at CulturalDaily.com