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5 Dance Shows to See in L.A. This Week: A Debbie Allen Fairy Tale

Barak Ballet
Barak Ballet
Photo by Rose Eichenbaum

This week's dance includes the return of Barak Ballet, an homage to a modern dance pioneer, plus more woodland sprites and a vengeful Scottish witch.  
5. Barak goes Broad

For ever so long, Southern California has been exporting talented ballet dancers. American Ballet Theatre's Misty Copeland, New York City Ballet's Darci Kistler and Tiler Peck, San Francisco Ballet's Jennifer Stahl - they're all SoCal dancers who left to dance professionally. L.A. native Melissa Barak followed that path, training here at Yvonne Mounsey's Westside Ballet before leaving for New York and joining New York City Ballet, where she danced for nine years, honing her talents as a choreographer. But during that decade, L.A.'s ballet landscape began to change and Barak made a U-turn, leaving New York to dance with Los Angeles Ballet before launching her own contemporary Barak Ballet here. Barak Ballet debuted last year with a sold-out performance at Santa Monica's Broad Theater. The chamber company returns with a program that includes Barak's latest, set to a commissioned score by High School Musical composer David Lawrence, plus a new work from Darrell Grand Moultrie, whose powerful duet for two women was a highlight at Barak Ballet's debut. The program also reprises Sentir em Nos from Frank Chaves and Barak's For Two. Barak Ballet is another opportunity allowing local ballet dancers to stay here and dance. At Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Thu., June 19, 8 p.m.; $35-$95 (top price includes a reception). (800) 595-4849, www.barakballet.tix.com.

Alyssa Bross in Los Angeles Ballet's La Sylphide
Alyssa Bross in Los Angeles Ballet's La Sylphide
Photo by Reed Hutchinson


4. Witches in Scotland (and it is not MacBeth)

He's young, rich, entitled and in love with an entrancing female from a magical realm. No, it's not Swan Lake, it's La Sylphide, an even older and possibly more romantic ballet, being presented by Los Angeles Ballet at four local venues this month. The plot follows a handsome Scotsman who abandons his world for an entrancing woodland sprite, a Sylphide. The plot thickens when our hero arrives in the Sylphides' forest, pursued by a vengeful witch whom he has offended. The two-act La Sylphide is paired with George Balanchine's 1930s masterpiece Serenade. Bathed in blue lighting and featuring dancers in long diaphanous costumes, Serenade was the first ballet Balanchine choreographed in America, and it's regarded as one of his most beautiful. Tackling these two ballets together is a declaration of how far Los Angeles Ballet has come in just eight years, despite L.A.'s tough dance terrain. Further proof is the company's first tour outside California, to Seattle's McCaw Hall Theater, right after these performances. This week at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., June 14, 7:30 p.m.; and at UCLA Royce Hall, 340 Royce Drive, Wstwd.; Sat., June 21, 7:30 p.m.; $30-$95, $24-$76 students, children & seniors. (310) 998-7782, www.losangelesballet.org.

3. Not so Grimm fairy tale

In the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses were locked in their rooms at night and forbidden to dance, but each morning their dancing shoes were inexplicably worn out. Giving a new spin to the tale, Debbie Allen's Brothers of the Knight focuses on the Knight brothers, who similarly have been forbidden to dance but mysteriously their shoes are worn out the next dawn. Debbie Allen and James Ingram provide an original score for the brothers' escapades and their efforts to escape detection. At Saban Theatre, 8440 W. Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; June 19-21, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., June 21, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., June 22, 1 p.m., $40. (323) 655-0111, www.sabantheatre.org.

Debbie Allen's Brothers of the Knight
Debbie Allen's Brothers of the Knight
Photo courtesy of Debbie Allen

2. Ruth-less? Ruth-more?

Modern-dance pioneer Ruth St. Denis inspired choreographer Popkin's evening-length trio Ruth Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Guy Klucevsek's score for accordion and violin will be performed live. At REDCAT: Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, 631 W. Second St., dwntwn.; Thru Sat,m June 14, 8:30 p.m., $25-$25, $16-$20 students. (213) 237-2800, www.redcat.org.

Antonio Rodriguez Jiminez
Antonio Rodriguez Jiminez
Courtesy Fountain Theatre

1.  He reigns in Spain

Antonio Rodriguez Jiminez (El Chupete) the celebrated flamenco dancer from Sevilla, Spain guests in this edition of the long-running Forever Flamenco. Jimenez joins dancers Mizuho Sato and Pamela Lourant, with guitarist/artistic director Gabriel Osuna, singer Antonio de Jerez and percussionist Gerardo Morales. Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., E.Hllywd.; Sun., June 15, 8 p.m., $40. (323) 663-1525, www.fountaintheatre.com.


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