5 Dance Shows to See in L.A. This Week: Witches, Wolves and Pink Martini

Ballet Preljocaj in Les Nuits
Ballet Preljocaj in Les Nuits
Photo by Jean-Claude Carbonne

This week's events include witches in Cahuenga Pass and Westwood, plus a French troupe's sexy take on Scheherazade. 

5. Scheherazade with a French twist

French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj and his Ballet Preljocaj reconsider Scheherazade's sexually charged storytelling ability, which held a sultan enthralled for A Thousand and One Nights. The seductive update, Les Nuits (The Nights), boasts appropriately come-hither costumes by Azzedine Alaïa; stage design by Constance Guisset; and music by Natacha Atlas, Samy Bishai and 79D. The press material notes the program contains partial nudity and themes of a sexual nature; recommended for mature audiences. Not sure if that is meant as a warning or come-on - maybe both, as Scheherazade might tell it. At the Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., Fri.-Sat., June 20-21, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., June 22, 2 p.m., $34-$138. (213) 972-0777,

Hart Pulse Dance Company
Hart Pulse Dance Company
Photo by

4. Basking near the beach

Known for hosting the annual Mix and Match Dance Festival, choreographer Amanda Hart and her Hart Pulse Dance Company once a year keep the stage for themselves. Under the umbrella title BASK, 10 new works are unveiled and three popular works from the repertoire are reprised at Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica; June 20-21, 8 p.m.; Sun., June 22, 2 p.m., $15 advance purchase at, $20 at the door. 310-458-8634.

Invertigo Dance Theatre in Waiting at Home for the Witches
Invertigo Dance Theatre in Waiting at Home for the Witches
Photo by Joe Lambie

3. A festival inspired outside the box

Witches, wolves and the music of Pink Martini audaciously invade the Cahuenga Pass as five dance companies display the wealth of local dance and the diverse sources of choreographic inspiration in this edition of the L.A. So-Cal Dance Invitational (no, that's not redundant; there's also a So-Cal Dance Invitational in Orange County, in January). Invertigo Dance Theatre's Waiting at Home for the Witches offers a light-hearted take on the toil and trouble brewed up by the husbands of Macbeth's three witches' when the guys are stuck at home. Reconsidering the cautionary tale of Little Red Riding Hood, L.A. Contemporary Dance Company reprises Holly Rothschild's provocatively sexual The Better to See You With. Pink Martini provides the music for Andy Vaca's Jazzworks - Long Beach's contribution, General Education. In a more inspirational vein, Lula Washington Dance Theatre brings Beautiful Venus and Serena, an homage to tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. With the state in full drought mode, Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre offers Brodie's topical Body of Water and Beyond the River, plus Fuerza (Force) from company member Javier Gonzalez. The show celebrates the wealth of SoCal dance and the launch of another summer dance series on the Ford's refurbished al fresco stage. John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hlywd.; Fri., June 20, 8:30 p.m.; $30-$50, $20 students, $12 children 12 & under. (323) 461-3673,

2. MacBean and her Big Show

Known for her use of dance, spoken word and wry humor, choreographer Arianne MacBean and her troupe, the Big Show Co., unveil her latest, present tense, with an original jazz music score by Ivan Johnson, plus MacBean's 2012 The People Go Where The Chairs Are, also scored by Johnson. An artist talk with MacBean and Shayna Keller, executive director of the Dance Resource Center of Greater Los Angeles, is included at REDCAT: Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, 631 W. Second St., dwntn.; Fri., June 20, 8:30 p.m., $40. (213) 237-2800,

Los Angeles Ballet principal dancer Alyssa Bross in La Sylphide
Los Angeles Ballet principal dancer Alyssa Bross in La Sylphide
Photo by Reed Hutchinson

1. Los Angeles Ballet's last dance before Seattle

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, presented by Los Angeles Ballet at four local venues this 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, right after this performance 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,

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