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5 Dance Shows to See in L.A. This Week: So You Think You Can Dance Stars Live

Okwui Okpokwasili in Bronx Gothic
Okwui Okpokwasili in Bronx Gothic
Photo by Ian Douglas

5. See how she shimmies and speaks

Okwui Okpokwasili has a long list of theater/dance credits in New York, including Hippolyta in Julie Taymor's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Show Box L.A. built its reputation supporting and presenting experimental performers, mostly local but also imports. The launch of its 2014-15 season features the West Coast premiere of Okpokwasili's solo show, Bronx Gothic, directed by Peter Born and written by Okpokwasili. In the extended opening moments, Okpokwasili shimmers and shimmies with her back to the audience, then combines dance, spoken word and performance to present two girls on the edge of adolescence exchanging graphic notes about sex.

This is Okpokwasili and Born's second collaboration; their first, Pent-Up: A Revenge Dance, garnered a 2010 New York Dance and Performance Bessie Award. Not a bad calling card for this show. Highland Park Ebell Club, 131 S. Avenue 57, Highland Park; July 17-19, 8:30 p.m.; $20 at info@showboxla.org, 323-478-9562, www.showboxla.org

4. More Art and Action

This series offers a Weekly Lab where performers and groups can show their work. The related 3rd Thursday is dedicated to a single production selected for fuller presentation. At At Diavolo Performance Space, 616 Moulton Ave., dwntwn.; Thursdays, 7 p.m. Thru July 31, $5 Weekly Lab, $10 3rd Thursday; 323-225-4290, www.artand actionla.orgwww.diavolo.org.

3. To BE or not to BE

Guest poet Zach Puchtel of Divine Rhyme, an original score by Jeff Meldgin and artists from the sponsor organization Beautify Earth join the dancers of BE Dance L.A. for the premiere of BEloved. The art created during the performance will be auctioned off and additional art will be for sale at Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; July 18-19, 8 p.m.; Sun., July 20, 2 p.m., $35. 310-306-1854, www.electriclodge.org.

2. Offspring of SYTYCD live, Part I
 
Summer is the time for dance intensives offering classes with high-profile choreographers and teachers, including many familiar faces from TV's So You Think You Can Dance. This weeklong DancerPalooza also adds an array of public performances in the dance expo hall, as well as nightly ticketed performances. Troupes include Stacey Tookey, Jaci Royal, Movement Lifestyle and Shaping Sound (led by SYTYCD's Travis Wall), Details on performances, classes and workshop at www.dancerpalooza.com.  At Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; July 22-27; 562-436-3636, www.longbeachcc.com.

National Dance Day
National Dance Day
Photo courtesy of the Music Center and National Dance Day


1. Offspring of SYTYCD live, Part II

It’s going to be a busy week for the stars, current dancing contestants, and alums of So You Think You Can Dance as they not only continue the summer TV competition but also launch a week of live events beginning with the Dizzy Feet Gala Performance, continuing with the weeklong Dancerpalooza (above) and concluding next Saturday with free events for National Dance Day at downtown’s Grand Park. The Gala includes performances by past and present SYTYCD contenders, American Ballet Theatre stars and Dizzy Feet Foundation scholarship recipients. For $400, get tix for the show and the black-tie postperformance supper at www.dizzyfeetfoundation.givezooks.com/events/2014-dizzy-feet-foundation-celebration-of-dance-gala. The show is at the Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave.; Sat., July 19, 7 p.m., $34-$125, $400 show and supper. 213-972-0777, www.musiccenter.org. National Dance Day at Grand Park, 200 North Grand Avenue, dwntwn. and the Music Center Plaza, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Sat., June 26. 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; free. www.musiccenter.org/nationaldanceday.


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