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5 Dance Shows to See in L.A. This Week: A New Company that Goes Gaga

ate9 dANCE cOMPANY
ate9 dANCE cOMPANY
Photo by Denise Leitner

This week's dance events include dance crews, dancing with friends, Jérôme Bel arriving and Sleeping Beauty going Goth.

5. Dance for the shift-key challenged

Eleven months ago, choreographer Danielle Agami relocated from Seattle to L.A. with her shift key-challenged ate9 dANCEcOMPANY. She arrived with a reputation earned as a dancer with Israel's Batsheva Dance Company and as a proponent of Gaga, the innovative movement aethestic of Batsheva artistic director Ohad Naharin. Since arriving, the nine-member Ate9 has been popping up at local festivals, its calling card usually sections of the full-length Sally Meets Stu, which will be performed in its entirety tonight. Ate9 has been seemingly everywhere in the last month: Agami worked with Benjamin Millepied's L.A. Dance Project for the dance component of the headphone opera Invisible Cities, which just concluded at Union Station, and for the recent debut of Barak Ballet, Agami created a Gaga-infused solo that put artistic director/ballerina Melissa Barak flat on the stage, moving in a distinctly un-balletic, Butoh-esque manner. That slo-mo aspect (as well as Gaga's explosive elements) also were evident earlier this week as Ate9 took over Grand Park for the Thursday noontime Grand Park Moves! But what about that name? Agami says it's part of a kid's joke, "Why is six afraid? Because seven eight (ate) nine." While that doesn't explain the curious capitalization, a choreographer with a sense of humor should always be welcomed. At Fais Do-do, 5257 W. Adams Blvd., dwntwn.; Sat., Nov. 23, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., $25, $20 students. www.brownpapertickets.com/event/494437.

4. Dance crews with winning ways

Brain Bangers showcases winners of TV's America's Best Dance Crew, including 6th season winner, I.aM.mE (which stands for Inspire, Motivate and Energize). It's a chance to see ABDC champion crews from different seasons go toe to toe with their competition-winning dance moves. At Richard & Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, CSULB, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach; Sat., Nov. 23, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 24, 2 p.m., $50., 562-985-7000, www.carpenterarts.org.

See also: 5 Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week

3. A solo answering the question why do dancers dance?

Celebrated French choreographer Jérôme Bel has employed nude dancers and disabled dancers. He arrives with two shows that involve neither. Still, these performances demonstrate why this Paris-based choreographer draws international attention. Why do dancers dance? That existential question preoccupies Bel in Cédric Andrieux, a 2009 solo that considers the life and career of Andrieux, a dancer for Merce Cunningham and other 20th-century modern-dance masters. Next weekend, Bel offers The Show Must Go On, his 2001 work for 20 performers, 19 pop songs and one DJ. At UCLA Royce Hall, 340 Royce Drive, Wstwd.; Sat., Nov. 23, 8 p.m., $30-$50. 310-825-4401, www.cap.ucla.edu.

See also: Our Latest Theater Reviews

2. Dancing their thanks for friends and family

Hosted by Nancy Evans Dance Theater, the third Friends/Family/Dance Festival brings together choreographers and troupes from Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Germany. Participating choreographers include Benita Bike (Benita Bike's DanceArt), Chia-Hui Cheng (Arsenal Movement Dance Project), Nikolaos Crist Doede (Ballet Kiel, Germany), Alex Floyd (OdDancity), Misa Mandigo Kelly (ArtBark International), Beth Megill (Megill & Company), Robyn O'Dell (Jam Today Dance Theatre), Scot Tupper (Nancy Evans Dance Theatre) and the host ensemble. At Porticos Art Space at St. James Methodist Church, 2033 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena; Sat., Nov. 23, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 24, 4 p.m., $20, $15 seniors/students, www.nancyevansdancetheatre.com. www.porticosartspace.org.

Adam Maskell in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty
Adam Maskell in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty
Photo courtesy of Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty

1. Definitely not Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty

In 1997, Los Angeles hosted the U.S. premiere of Matthew Bourne's breakthrough Swan Lake featuring male swans in feathered knickers, helping to launch what became an international sensation. Since then Bourne's rebooting of ballet classics has produced audacious and popular theatrical events -- a Nutcracker set in an Oliver Twist orphanage, a Cinderella cinematically moved to World War II London. Despite occasional mixed reviews for Bourne's choreographic skills, his talent for producing enthralling, even visionary treatments of familiar stories is unquestioned. The man is back with Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. It also totes the subtitle "A Gothic Romance," a strong clue that it's prime Bourne paying homage to the original classic ballet, and particularly the luscious Tchaikovsky score, while gender-bending the various good/bad fairies and injecting a nightclub populated with vampires when Aurora is awakened. Bourne always enjoys his bad-boy characters, but he has not ignored the Beauty of the title, who appears first as a perky bunraku puppet and then later as a barefoot, free spirit (a stated reference to Isadora Duncan) before her sleep, something the audience is unlikely to do at Ahmanson Theatre, Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Thurs.-Fri., Nov. 21-22, 8 p.m., Sat., Nov. 23, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 24 & Dec. 1, 1 & 6:30 p.m.; Tues.-Wed., Nov. 26-27, 8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 29-30, 2 & 8 p.m.; $35-$120. www.musiccenter.org.


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