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5 Dance Shows to See in L.A. This Week

Michael Trusnovec in Paul Taylor's Banquet of Vultures
Michael Trusnovec in Paul Taylor's Banquet of Vultures
Photo by Tom Caravaglia

This week's dance shows include the local edition of a national water dance, flamenco in Hollywood, dancing with a trailer and dances about memory.

5. The big guy's back in town

"Living legend" is used so frequently, some elevated version of the phrase seems necessary to capture the full stature of modern-dance giant Paul Taylor. It's been a decade since L.A.'s last visit from Paul Taylor Dance Company, and the troupe arrives celebrating its 60th anniversary with a trio of works emblematic of its founder's varied interests - love, war, bugs and great music. Handel's baroque formality supports the magnificent dancers in Taylor's luminous Airs (1978), while Morton Feldman's minimalism was Taylor's choice for his war commentary in Banquet of Vultures (2005). Smetana provides an exuberant musical backdrop as the dancers don antennae and wings for bug-themed mating rituals in Gossamer Gallants (2011).

Like another legend, Merce Cunningham, Taylor danced with Martha Graham's company before establishing his own company in 1954, and what began with Taylor and five friends grew into a major force in modern dance. Taylor appreciates his elder-statesman status but isn't ready to rest on his laurels. Next year, the company will become Paul Taylor's American Modern Dance Company; it will no longer exclusively showcase its founder's choreography, instead reviving works by other modern dance icons and cultivate new talents. For now, it's an all-Taylor program at the Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Fri.-Sat., April 11-12, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., April 13, 2 p.m.; $34-$125. (213) 972-0711, www.musiccenter.org.

Dancer Mele Martinez debuts at Forever Flamenco!
Dancer Mele Martinez debuts at Forever Flamenco!
Photo by Pat Barret

4. A flamenco debut

Briseyda Zarate and company are showcased in this edition of the long-running flamenco series. This show marks the Forever Flamenco! debut of dancer Mele Martinez of Tuscon's Flamenco del Pueblo Viejo. She joins dancers Vanessa Albalos and Zarate, plus guitarist Gabriel Osuna, singer Jesus Montoya and percussionist Gerardo Morales. At the Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Hlywd.; Sun., April 13, 8 p.m., $40. (323) 663-1525, www.fountaintheatre.com.

3. Traipsing with a trailer

Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre, L.A.'s premier site-specific troupe, is on the road with its adorable midcentury Oasis trailer and a quartet of dancers presenting From Time to Time - At the Oasis!. With video projections transforming the trailer into different locales, the Oasis is as much a performer as the dancers who maneuver in, out, around and atop it. At CSU Dominguez Hills, look for the trailer between the theater building and the student union, below the walkway. Two shows on April 29 at Cal State L.A. coincide with National Dance Day. Look for the trailer at CSULA's Confucius statue. Or catch the action streamed live online at www.2ndline.tv. At Cal State Dominguez Hills, 1000 E. Victoria St., Carson; Thu., April 17, 8:30 p.m., free. Also at Cal State Los Angeles, 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles; Tue., April 29, 3:20 & 8:30 p.m., free. www.heididuckler.org, (310) 243-3696.

Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre with the Oasis
Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre with the Oasis
Photo courtesy Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre

2. How about a rain dance too?

The local edition of Water Dance, a national dance project aimed at raising awareness of water issues, goes to the beach at El Segundo. The site-specific event involving dancers, singers and musicians is a joint project involving Loyola Marymount University and Moorpark College, with direction by Teresa Heiland, Paul Humphreys, Beth Megill and Eric Escalante. The performance site, south of the Scattergood Generating Plant and within view of oil tankers delivering crude to the Chevron Refinery, is an apt location to consider a range of water issues. Info and parking directions at http://se.nationalwaterdance.org/group/84/loyola-marymount-university. At Dockweiler Beach, 12000 Vista del Mar, El Segundo; Sat., April 12, 1 p.m., free.

1. Post doc dancing

Memory is explored in Past-Present-Now, three works from graduating MFA candidates Samantha Goodman and Chankethya Chey. In her solo, My Mother and I, Chey juxtaposes classical Cambodian dance with contemporary movement to raise questions about tradition and conformity in politically oppressive cultures. Goodman's CARMELA offers a duet set against a soundscore that includes excerpts of interview with her 97-year-old aunt, while Goodman's quintet, Depth of Surface, is reprised after its premiere as part of REDCAT's New Original Works Festival. At UCLA Glorya Kaufman Dance Theater, 120 Westwood Plaza, Wstwd; Fri.-Sat., April 11-12, 8 p.m., $15, $8 students. www.ticketmaster.com


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