A MacArthur Genius Choreographer Creates a Dance Show About Apartheid

Kyle Abraham's When the Wolves Came In
Kyle Abraham's When the Wolves Came In

This week’s dance shows include the latest from JazzAntiqua, choreographer Kyle Abraham making the political personal, and a new collaboration between L.A. theater and L.A. dance troupes. 

5.  Ah, the stories they tell

In The Stories We Tell, JazzAntiqua's artistic director Pat Taylor unveils the results of her latest collaborations that included actor/director Obba Babatunde, dancer Jahanna Blunt, visual artist Mark Steven Greenfield, poet V. Kali, actor/playwrightLynn Manning (Watts Village Theater Company), poet Gia Scott-Heron, and master teacher/performer Lady Walquer Vereen.The evening also includes excerpts from the company’s newest full length work Song in a Strange Land. A post performance discussion and dessert reception follow the performance. Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Sun., Feb. 15, 5 p.m.; $25. 310-315-1459, highwaysperformance.org.

JazzAntiqua Dance and Music
JazzAntiqua Dance and Music
Photo courtesy of JazzAntiqua

4. Valentine's Day dance by the fire

Sip something warm and cozy up to the fireplace with your valentine as the contemporary dance company Hart Pulse Dance Company opens the dance component of Fireside at the Miles. This company annually hosts the MixMatch Dance Festival, but this time gets the whole evening to themselves. Reservations strongly recommended. Miles Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica; Sat., Feb 14, 8 p.m.;  $10 adults, $5 students, seniors & youth 17 & under.  (310) 458-8634, milesplayhouse@smgov.net.

Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly
Photo courtesy of Patricia Ward Kelly

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3.  An encore for Gene Kelly

Patricia Ward Kelly who started as Gene Kelly’s biographer and then became his wife, hosted Gene Kelly: The Legacy in January and the show sold out. Kelly fans who missed out on the film clips, previously unreleased audio recordings, personal memorabilia, and Ward Kelly’s insights get another chance with the return of the show celebrating the late dancer, director and choreographer. More info at GeneKelly.com. Bram Goldsmith Theater, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills; Sat., Feb. 14, 8 p.m.; $29 - $49. 310-746-4000, thewallis.org.

2. Developing destination dance

The hip hop troupe Antics shares the stage with the contemporary Multiplex Dance in the debut production of this potentially important partnership between Bootleg Theater and Pentacle, a non-profit that provides administrative support for dance companies, but now is moving into presenting. The intent is to establish the Bootleg as a go-to venue for local dance akin to New York’s Joyce Theater. During the summer, the Ford Amphitheater somewhat serves that function, but this might fill that role the rest of the year. For this show, Antics offers Sneaker Suites combining street dance and spoken word poetry from Mark Gonzales. Multiplex Dance brings From Darkness to Light with video projections by Chad Michael Hall and music by composer David Karagianis. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., Hllywd.; Thurs.-Sat., Feb. 19-21, 7 p.m.; $20 in advance, $25 at door. 213.289.3856, bootlegtheater.org.

When the Wolves Came In
When the Wolves Came In
Photo by Ian Douglas

1.  Kyle Abraham's contemporary gumbo

By the time Kyle Abraham won a MacArthur Genius Award in 2013, no one should have been surprised.  The Pittsburgh native had been turning heads on the hard-to-impress New York dance scene, first for his dancing, then for his choreography, racking up the national and international dance world’s highest honors. Abraham’s work draws on ballet, contemporary dance, capoeira and his own starting point in the street dance of Pittsburgh raves, a composite style he calls a postmodern gumbo. His work has been seen locally on L.A.-based BODYTRAFFIC and last week in Wendy Whelan’s sort of one-woman show where Abraham both choreographed and danced. This week, he brings his own dancers in his latest When the Wolves Came In, exemplifying Abraham’s ability to make the political personal, in this case his laser eye is on segregation with specific reference to South African apartheid. The music is drawn from a 1960 Max Roach civil rights infused jazz album revisited by composer Robert Glasper. UCLA Royce Hall, 340 Royce Dr., Wstwd.; Fri., Feb. 13, 8 p.m.; $29-$69. 310-825-2101, cap.ucla.edu.   


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