Five Dance Shows to See in L.A. This Week, Including Romeo and Juliet as a Street Dance Battle

The Montague family in Blue 13's new take on Romeo and Juliet
The Montague family in Blue 13's new take on Romeo and Juliet
Photo by Anne Slattery

This week's dance events include a performance to send dancers out of town and another week of REDCAT's NOW festival.

5. How 'bout some Bollywood street dance?

Forbidden passions, blood feuds and two well-armed families jockeying for political advantage. No, not Game of Thrones. It's Romeo and Juliet, the Shakespeare tragedy that choreographers just can't resist. Jerome Robbins used jazz dance in West Side Story to transport the suicidal lovers to the world of midcentury New York City street gangs, while in his Hollywood years, George Balanchine created a version pitting dancers in pointe shoes against tap dancers in dance duels. In that same inventive spirit, Blue 13's Achinta S. McDaniel and her Bollywood dancers teamed with So You Think You Can Dance hip-hop choreographer Sara Von Gillern and a crew of street dancers. The result, Fire and Powder, has Juliet with her hip-hop Capulet crew, while Romeo and his Montague clan bring Bollywood to the mix. The highly energized, very L.A. dance styles promise to be well-matched as they go toe-to-toe in this dance battle, which includes an explicit nod to West Side Story. It's not required, but audience members can learn some of the choreography at, choose to side and sit with Team Capulet or Team Montague, and then stand and perform their side's moves during the show as part of a flash mob. Details on this and other imaginative participatory fun are at Preshow activities begin at 6:30 p.m. At the Ford Theaters, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. E., Hlywd.; Sat., Aug. 3, 8:30 p.m.; $30-$45, $15 students, $12 children. (323) 461-3673,

See also:

*5 Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week

*Our Latest Theater Reviews

*Our Calendar Section, Listing More Great Things to Do in L.A.

The Capulet family in Blue 13's Fire & Powder, a new spin on Romeo & Juliet
The Capulet family in Blue 13's Fire & Powder, a new spin on Romeo & Juliet
Photo by Anne Slattery

4. Help dancers trying to get out of town

Graced with performances by Genna Moroni, Andrew Pearson, Intersect Dance Theatre, Stephanie Zaletel, Kirsten Johansen, Nick Duran and Roya Carreras, this benefit evening will underwrite Roya Carreras & Dancers' upcoming appearance at New York's Current Sessions Contemporary Dance Festival. Carreras is a familiar figure from her work with String Theory, Rosanna Gamson/WorldWide, BODYTRAFFIC and Barak Marshall. Now she's spreading her own wings. At the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; Fri., Aug. 2, 8:30 p.m., $10. 310-306-1854,

Dancers with Complexions Contemporary Ballet
Dancers with Complexions Contemporary Ballet
Photo by Jae Man Joo

3. Mondays are for dance lessons

L.A. gets two chances to enjoy New York's celebrated Complexions Contemporary Ballet led by Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson. Later in the week, Complexions and L.A.'s Lula Washington Dance Theater offer a joint performance, but in a very special edition of the informal J.A.M. Session, members of Complexions will demystify the fundamentals of contemporary dance. Come participate or watch and enjoy. At the Ford Theatres, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. E., Hlywd.; Mon., Aug. 5, 7 p.m., free with reservation at (323) 461-3673.,

2. The return of Backhaus

This performance is a two-fer. Backhaus Dance reprises recently premiered The Elasticity of the Almost with the dancers moving about a stage brimming with thousands of red balls. The concert also concludes its summer intensive program, with students performing selections from the repertory. At the Waltmar Theater, Chapman University, 1 University Drive, Orange; Fri.-Sat., Aug. 2-3, 7:30 p.m., $15. www.backhausdancedeconstructed.­

Waewdao Sirisook at REDCAT's New Original Works (NOW) Festival
Waewdao Sirisook at REDCAT's New Original Works (NOW) Festival
Photo by Ronnarong Khampha

1. The end of NOW is coming

The folks who love acronyms at REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/Cal Arts Theatre) also like double entendres. The annual NOW (New Original Works) Festival reflects the first time nature of the presentations as well as the cutting edge emphasis of the nine L.A. innovators invited to participate. Divided into trios for three successive weekends, this year's invitees include dance with spoken word, puppets and live music in the mix. This weekend look for Waewdao Sirisook & Ronnarong Khampha, who employ Northern Thailand's traditional fingernail dance, Fauwn Leb, as a starting point for their exploration of the conflicting traditional and contemporary forces on that culture. In the third and closing week, Los Angeles-based Meg Wolfe and Minneapolis-based Morgan Thorson explore distance and human connection. For a complete lineup of the three-week festival and links to the individual websites for previews, go to At REDCAT: Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, 631 W. Second St., dwntwn; Thurs.-Sat., 8:30 p.m. through Aug. 10, $18, $14 students. 213-237-2800,

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