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5 Dance Shows to See in L.A. This Week: "It" Choreographer Jessica Lang

Jessica Lang Dance
Jessica Lang Dance
Photo courtesy of Jessica Lang Dance

This week's dance shows include a romantic story ballet, a consideration of America's cultural divide, dance and video from The Hague, and the local debut of a hot New York choreographer  

5. New Yorkers Lang-uishing in L.A.

Jessica Lang, one of New York's current "it" choreographers, recently formed her own company, Jessica Lang Dance. For their West Coast debut, Lang and her troupe bring half a dozen works, including Lines Cubed (2012) with music by John Metcalfe and Thomas Metcalf; Mendelssohn/Incomplete (2011) set to music by Felix Mendelssohn; and Among the Starts (2010) with music by Ryuichi Sakamoto. At Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Fri., May 30, 8 p.m.; Sat., May 31, 3 & 8 p.m., $79-$129. 310-246-3800, www.thewallis.org.

4. Dancing across the cultural divide

A young boy rooted in two cultures is the starting point for Alma Llanera/Spirit of the Plains as choreographer Gema Sandoval and the dancers of Danza Floricanto/USA consider America's cultural divide and the values shared by both cultures. At Floricanto Center for the Performing Arts, 4232 Whiteside St., Los Angeles; Sat., May 31, 8 p.m.; Sun., June 1, 5 p.m., $15 in advance or $20 at the door.  www.floricanto.org.

The virtual dancers of Vanessa Blaylock
The virtual dancers of Vanessa Blaylock
Photo courtesy of Sternberg & Dancers

3. For one night only! (literally)

Part of West Hollywood's free ONE Night Festival, Donna Sternberg & Dancers perform Sternberg's Fly By that pairs dancers with a camera-equipped flying drone transmitting live video footage onto a suspended balloon. Sternberg also collaborated with Vanessa Blaylock who will transmit "virtual avatar dancers" from The Hague, Netherlands. At West Hollywood Park, 647 San Vicente Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Sat., May 31, 8:45 & 9:30 p.m., free. 323-848-6501, www. one.usc.edu/one-night.

Lollieworks
Lollieworks
Photo by Tim Angler

2. Dance among the emergents

For the spring edition of the quarterly REDCAT Studio, guest curators Anna Oxygen and Malcolm Darrell focus on emerging local artists. Among the dance participants, look for Lollieworks restaging choreographer Lindsey Lollie's octet Interval with an original score from Paul Matthisz; choreographer Rebecca Bruno with visual artist Michelle Jane Lee mixing lighting elements with movement as they re-envision Sarah Kane's play Crave; and Prumsodun Ok, drawing on classical Khmer dance from Cambodia to consider love between men in an excerpt from Beloved. At REDCAT, 631 E. 2nd St., dwntwn.; Sat., May 31, 8:30 p.m., Sun., June 1, 7 p.m., $15, $12 students. 213-237-2800, www.redcat.org.

Los Angeles Ballet dancers in La Sylphide
Los Angeles Ballet dancers in La Sylphide
Photo by Reed Hutchinson

1. A swarm of Sylphides

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 in the next 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, after these performances. At Valley Performing Arts Center, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Sat., May 31, 7:30 p.m. Also at the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., June 7, 7:30 p.m.; at the 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.


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