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4 Dance Shows to See in L.A. This Week, Including Dancers With Swords

National Ballet of Canada dancers Guillaume Côté and Elena Lobsanova in Romeo and Juliet
National Ballet of Canada dancers Guillaume Côté and Elena Lobsanova in Romeo and Juliet
Photo by Bruce Zinger

4.  Dancers armed (and legged)

Star-crossed lovers, two heavily armed families vying for political dominance — long before Game of Thrones, Shakespeare branded the enduring appeal of these elements with Romeo and Juliet. However luscious its language, it's the play's physicality that lends itself to dance — the lovers' passionate meetings, the deadly swordfights erupting between the families' armies, the doomed timing of the sleeping potion. Those physical possibilities and the timeless appeal of the love story have enticed choreographers to put their own stamp on the tragedy ever since Sergei Prokofiev composed the score in the 1930s. The latest to take on Prokofiev and Shakespeare is Alexei Ratmansky, the former Bolshoi Ballet director and one of the most important classical ballet choreographers working today. Now choreographer in residence at American Ballet Theatre, Ratmansky continues to work with other major international companies, including the National Ballet of Canada, which commissioned a new Romeo and Juliet in 2011.

Southern California gets its first look at Ratmansky's version this week when the National Ballet of Canada arrives for five performances. Unlike choreographers such as Angelin Preljocaj, who set the lovers in a militaristic, Blade Runner–esque future, or Mark Morris, who inserted a happy ending, Ratmansky's is steeped in the traditions of classical ballet yet tweaked to bring more individuality to Verona's populace. He also has Juliet awaken just after Romeo has taken the poison but while he still has a few moments to live — just enough time for one last pas de deux. At the Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Thu.-Sat., July 10-12, 7:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., July 12-13, 2 p.m.; $34-$125. www.musiccenter.org.  

National Ballet of Canada in Romeo and Juliet
National Ballet of Canada in Romeo and Juliet
Photo by Bruce Zinger

3.  Foot fetish

Put on your dancing shoes and head to the Cahuenga Pass for a chance to learn El Zapateado, a traditional foot dance from the Mexican State of Veracruz. Las Cafeteras leads this edition of the Ford Amphitheatre’s JAM session which also includes music from Son Jarocho. Join in the dancing and music making or just sit back and enjoy. At John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hlywd.; Mon., July 7, 7 p.m., free with reservation. 323.461.3673  www.fordtheatres.org

2.  Max 10 takes five

After this July edition, Max 10 Performance Laboratory, the feisty, funky and uncurated, mostly monthly showcase for dance and performance takes August off. Like a good laboratory, there’s lots of experimentation and often surprisingly delightful results. The series resumes in September. At Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; Mon., July 7, 7:30 p.m., $10. 310-306-1854, www.electriclodge.org.

Diavolo Dance
Diavolo Dance
Photo courtesy of Diavolo Dance


1.  Spawn of Diavolo

Instigated by two Diavolo dancers, Art and Action is a new, two part series that offers a Weekly Lab where performers and groups can show their work on the 1st, 2nd, 4th and sometimes 5th Thursday each month. The related 3rd Thursday, is dedicated to a single production selected for fuller presentation. At Diavolo Performance Space, 616 Moulton Ave., dwntwn.; Thurs., July 10, 17, 24 & 31, 7 p.m., $5 Weekly Lab, $10 3rd Thursday. 323-225-4290, www.diavolo.org.


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