5 Dance Shows to See in L.A. This Week, Including a Day of the Dead Fest

Ballet Boyz
Ballet Boyz
Photo by Hugo Glendinning

This week's dance shows include a new dance festival in Venice, five companies interpreting one song and the return of Ballet Boyz

5.  Boyz will be boyz

Launched 14 years ago by Michael Nunn and William Trevitt to provide adventures beyond the classicism emphasized by Britain’s Royal Ballet, Ballet Boyz has been something of a shape shifter ever since. On tour here in 2003, Nunn and Trevitt were joined by a female and over the years other configurations also included females among the “boyz.” This incarnation boasts ten men who are less ballet-primed than gym-ripped which fits in just fine with the two scheduled works that move well beyond ballet. With barechested men dancing to a poignant Max Richter score, choreographer Liam Scarlett explores where to take male duets beyond combat and homoeroticism. When he created Serpent for the company, Scarlett was on the rise and shortly after was catapulted to the exalted post of Royal Ballet resident choreographer. In Fallen, the second scheduled work, choreographer Russell Maliphant draws on a pulsating Armand Amar score to suggest a foreboding ritual and a group dynamic that one British reviewer described as a “post-industrial Rite of Spring.” What hasn’t changed over the years is Nunn and Trevitt’s ability to engage new audiences, their uncanny feel for the pulse of what is coming in dance and identifying who is moving it into that future. At the Music Center, Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 7-8, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 9, 2 p.m., $28-$121. 213-972-8555, www.musiccenter.org/balletboyz.

Arpana Dance Company in One Song, Many Dances
Arpana Dance Company in One Song, Many Dances
Photo courtesy of Arpana Dance Company

4.  Taking a tune round the world

Five culturally distinct dance companies share the stage and the same music in One Song, Many Dances, an intriguing experiment organized by Donna Sternberg & Dancers. Arpana Dance Company, Esplendor Dance Company, Mandala DanceWorks, Wilfried Souly and the host troupe perform to the same world music composition by Yuval Ron, each offering a distinct perspective from India, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and contemporary America. The program includes a discussion with the choreographers and ethnomusicologists Munir Beken and Lisa Richardson. Tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/877597. At Ivy Substation, 9070 Venice Blvd, Culver City; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 7-8, 8:30 p.m. $25, $20 students and seniors. 310-838-4264, www.theactorsgang.com.

Danza Floricanto in Fiesta del Dia de los Muertos
Danza Floricanto in Fiesta del Dia de los Muertos
Photo by Richard Rivera

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3.  Dancing on their graves

In contrast with last weekend’s Halloween revelries, Gema Sandoval and her folkloric ensemble Danza Floricanto return with the 14th edition of their Fiesta del Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead Festival) celebrating the respectful Latin American tradition of visiting the tombs of loved ones with dance, music, song and ceremony. Entering the foyer with its community alter bearing photos of the dancers’ departed, the event is participatory and family-friendly despite having the skeleton known as La Cantrina guiding the audience to the staged cemetery where the dancing occurs. Tickets at www.danzafloricantousa.com/store.php. Floricanto Center For The Performing Arts 4232 Whiteside Street, E.L.A.; Sat., Nov. 8, 8p.m., Sun. Nov. 9, 5:00 p.m., $15 in advance, $20 at door. 323-261-0385, www.danzafloricantousa.com.

Pennington Dance Group
Pennington Dance Group
Photo by Tim Angler

2.  Solo action, group orbs

Choreographer John Pennington and his Pennington Dance Group offer the premiere of Company of Orbs, a reworked version of Skins, and the company is joined by guest Laurie Cameron & Company for The Black Sea. Pennington takes the stage to perform the late choreographer Daniel Nagrin’s 1948 solo Man of Action. Before his death, Nagrin coached Pennington in the piece which Pennington will perform next month in NYC for the American Dance Guild, ARC Pasadena, 681 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; Sat., Nov. 8 & 15, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 9 & 16, 3pm; $20, $15 students. 626-583-1122, www.e-arc.com/ca/pasadena.

Kevin Williamson
Kevin Williamson
Photo by Steven Schreiber

1.  Electric/eclectic dance fest

Beyond the warm weather lingering into November, Alternate Currents, a new, experimental performing arts festival is another reason to head to Venice Beach for the next two weekends. Some of the most interesting figures on the local dance scene and some new promising players are lined up for the jam-packed first weekend. Friday’s opening is a double-header with the premiere of choreographer Genevieve Carson's Unadult (8 p.m.) followed by Luke and Heidi Rothchild’s mesmerizing String Theory with featuring guest violonist Sarah Wallin Huff in the free, late night High Voltage series (9 p.m.). On Saturday (7 p.m. & 9 p.m.) and Sunday (3 p.m.) Kevin Williamson and Company unveil two new works. Spiral 1 promises lushly physical solos, duets, and trios set to Presque rien avec filles by composer Luc Ferrari. In the solo study Body of Ideas, Williamson reacts to discarded rehearsal footage from the last five years. The first weekend closes Sunday evening with Topography, choreography by Gracie Whyte and No-one Art House, a new L.A.-based visual and movement arts collective with choreography from artistic director Gustavo Ramirez Sansano. Next week features Electric Lodge’s resident troupe Oguri with Body Weather Laboratory. Electric Lodge, 1415 Electric Ave., Venice; Fri., Nov. 7, 8 p.m., 9 p.m., Sat., Nov. 8, 7p.m., 9pm, Sun., Nov. 9, 3 p.m., 7p.m., $20 advance, $25 at door, $17 student. Friday, 9 p.m. free. 310-306-1854 www.electriclodge.org.


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