This week's dance events include a punky Irish dancer, dance in an art gallery, movie dance and post modern vogue
5. Under new management
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the modern dance company established by Alvin Ailey in 1958 and then nurtured after his death by Ailey's muse Judith Jamison, acquired its third artistic director, Robert Battle, barely three years ago. Battle's impact already was in evidence during last year's visit. The Ailey dancers were as gorgeous, as superbly trained and athletic as ever, but they showed additional depth and precision as they tackled challenging new repertoire.
This visit offers two programs, again emphasizing new works. Evening shows include the West Coast premiere of British choreographer Wayne McGregor's Chroma (2006), paired with D-Man in the Waters (Part I) , a 1998 revision of the original 1989 work by Bill T. Jones, who nabbed Tony Awards for Fela! and Spring Awakening in between running his own company. The matinees include another West Coast premiere, Lift (2013), from choreographer Azure Barton, and the return of the always popular Grace, by Ronald K. Brown. The emphasis on the new does not mean the current leadership has forgotten the elements that make this company so successful. Each performance closes with the company's signature work, Ailey's gospel-informed Revelations, polished to perfection. Still, it's what comes before that finale that commands attention to the company's renewed energy and depth. At Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa; Thurs.-Sat., March 27-29, 7:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., March 29-30, 2 p.m., $25-$119. 714-556-2746, www.scfta.org.
4. The anti-Riverdance
The Bad Arm - Confessions of a Dodgy Irish Dancer is part dance, part theater, part punk response to Riverdance. Máire Clerkin returns with her hornpipe shoes to discuss being English in Ireland, Irish in England and a pink-haired rebel in the 1970s. Directed by Dan O'Connor from Impro Theatre, the show has been touring the U.S., Canada and Ireland. Preview at www.maireclerkin.com. At Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Hllywd.; Sat., March 29, 8 p.m.; Sun., March 30, 3 p.m., $16 online, $20 at door, 800-838-3006, www.theatreasylum-la.com.
3. Post-modern voguing
A few years back, choreographer Trajal Harrell realized that the post modern movement centered at Judson Church and voguing by drag queens in Harlem evolved during the same period in New York City in the early 1960s. Fifty years later, Harrell has developed a rep for exploring why Judson Church is considered revered dance history, but voguing is not, and making a case for why attention should be paid. This visit, Harrell and a quartet of dancers revisit that era and the possibilities if those early stars of voguing had been part of post modern Judson Church? That bit of history helps with deciphering Harrell's Antigone Sr./Twenty Looks or Paris Is Burning at the Judson Church (L) onstage this weekend. The REDCAT website has links to articles including the New Yorker magazine. At REDCAT: Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, 631 W. Second St., downtwn.; Thurs.-Sat., April 3-5, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., April 6, 7:30 p.m., $20-$25, $16-$20 students. 213-237-2800, www.redcat.org.
2. Everybody dance!
While few amateurs can match John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds in Singing in the Rain or Marine Jahan dance doubling for Jennifer Beals in Flashdance, still a lot of movie dance is well within the abilities of lesser mortals. For a mere dollar per class, this five hour A Taste of Dance offers a series of introductory dance lessons and the chance to learn the moves from Slumdog Millionaire, Singin' in the Rain, Dirty Dancing, Pulp Fiction, Flashdance, Footloose, She's All That, Napoleon Dynamite, and Saturday Night Fever. At press time, the website did not list times for specific films. At the Music Center Plaza, 135 Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Sat., March 29, 11 a.m. $1 per lesson. 213-972-7499, www.musiccenter.org.
1. Opposites attract
The Skirball Cultural Center doesn't present much dance, but when it does, the group is usually a modern/contemporary company, usually from New York, usually worth attention, and usually connected with Jewish culture. Choreographer Tere O'Connor and his troupe clearly fill the first three criteria and the two works being performed, Sister and Poem, may touch on the fourth element. As a choreographer, O'Connor is known for finding unexplored middle ground between seeming unalterably opposite elements. The two danceworks scheduled here are part of a multi-year project titled BLEED which the dancemaker has described as exploring how conflicting cultures eventually blend creating a symbiotic relationship. Given how much blood is spilled in cultural/geopolitical/religious conflicts, the search for blending rather than bleeding is a noble endeavor. After seeing parts of BLEED in a studio setting, Skirball Director of Programs Jordan Peimer convinced O'Connor to stage the performance in the Getty Gallery rather than the theater.
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As an extra bonus, on Saturday morning, O'Connor and the dancers offer Movement for Non-Dancers, a free workshop about O'Connor's approach to movement and a chance for participants to develop a bit of their own choreography. (Advance reservations are needed at email@example.com) At the Skirball Cultural Center, Getty Gallery, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; April 3-4, 8 p.m.; free workshop Sat., April 5, 11 a.m., $25, $20 full time students. 310-440-4500, www.skirball.org.
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