4 Dance Shows to See in L.A. This Week: A Ballet Company Owned by a Russian Fruit Tycoon

Mikhailovsky Ballet in Flames of Paris
Mikhailovsky Ballet in Flames of Paris
Photo by Stas Levshin

This week's dance events include a Merce Cunningham alum, a ballet company owned by a Russian fruit tycoon and dance from Java with local gamelan musicians.

4.  Psst! Wanna buy a ballet company?

In the U.S., the mega-rich buy sports franchises or elections. In Russia, they buy ballet companies. At least, that’s what happened in 2007, when Russian fruit tycoon Vladimir Kekhman moved to make the Mikhailovsky Ballet the best that money could buy. With a checkered history dating back to the 1800’s, the company was regarded as second tier behind Moscow’s Bolshoi and the St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Ballet. Kekhman’s money and drive, especially the money, lured high profile dancers from both the flamboyant Bolshoi and the refined Kirov. The company arrives on its first American tour with Flames of Paris, where the French Revolution is a thinly veiled metaphor for the Russian Revolution as the company asserts its growing international stature. At Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Towne Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 28-29, 7:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Nov. 29-30, 2 p.m., $29-$49. 714-556-2121, scfta.org.

Inland Pacific Ballet's The Nutcracker
Inland Pacific Ballet's The Nutcracker
Photo by E.Y. Yanagi

3.  First Nut of the season

For 20 years, Inland Pacific Ballet's version of The Nutcracker, created by choreographer Laurence Blake and artistic director Victoria Koenig, has been a local tradition touring the Inland Empire and now expands into the San Gabriel Valley. IPB's professional dancers are joined by students from the company's respected ballet academy. Info and tickets at ipballet.org. For L.A. Weekly’s comprehensive listing of this season’s Nutcracker ballets go to this list. At Arcadia Performing Arts Center, 188 Campus Dr., Arcadia; Sat.-Sun., Nov. 29-30, 2 p.m.; $46-$55, $43 seniors, $24 children 12 and under. 626-821-1781, arcadiapaf.org/.

Rashaun Mitchell and Stephin Merrit's Performance
Rashaun Mitchell and Stephin Merrit's Performance
Photo courtesy of REDCAT

Upcoming Events

2.  Deliberate performing for the performers we meet

The title, Performance, was taken from photographer Richard Avedon’s remark that everyone performs for each other all the time, sometimes deliberately and sometimes unintentionally. Former Merce Cunningham dancer Rashaun Mitchell is joined by dancers Hiroki Ichinose, Cori Kresge and Silas Riener with Magnetic Fields singer-songwriter Stephin Merrit with a visual design from installation artist Ali Naschke At REDCAT, 2nd & Hope St., dwntwn.; Thru Sun., Dec. 7, $25-$30, $20-$25 students, 213-237-2800, http://redcat.org.

Javanese dancers in Cup of Java
Javanese dancers in Cup of Java
Photo courtesy of Aratani World Series

1.  Serving up some Java

Despite its wieldy official title CUP OF JAVA Gamelan & Dance from Yogyakarta, Indonesia, this opening event of the Aratani World Series blends Javanese music and dance from Indonesia with local gamelan performers. The blending is both figurative and literal since the performers are rehearsing separately in Indonesia and here, but will work together just before the performance that marks the opening of this revitalized World Festival of Sacred Music. Info on this and the rest of the festival at festivalofsacredmusic.org. Aratani Japan America Theatre, 244 South San Pedro St., dwntwn.; Sat., Nov. 29, 7 p.m., $25-35. 213-680-3700, jaccc.org.


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