Five Dance Shows to See in L.A. This Week Including the Revival of a Game-Changing Performance After 25 Years

Ultima Vez in What the Body Does Not Remember
Ultima Vez in What the Body Does Not Remember
Photo by Danny Willems

This week's dance events include the Expulsion series scaling the heights of East L.A., and the revival of a game-changing show after 25 years.

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.

5. Blood on the dance floor

Choreographer-filmmaker Wim Vandekeybus was not the first to explore dance as extreme sport or use his dancers' bodies as emotional and physical battlefields. But in 1987, his What the Body Does Not Remember for the Belgium-based ensemble Ultima Vez kicked those concepts up so many notches it was dubbed "Eurocrash." A year later, the New York premiere of the show won the coveted Bessie Award for Vandekeybus and composers Thierry de Mey and Peter Vermeersch, setting a high bar for what would become known as hyperdance. Twenty-five years later, Vandekeybus has a new cast of dancers as Ultima Vez takes that watershed work on a world tour. Will the stylized combat, running, wrestling and groping of What the Body Does Not Remember look dated? Or has it just taken 25 years for the rest of the world to catch up? At Royce Hall, UCLA, 340 Royce Drive, Wstwd.; Fri.-Sat., March 15-16, 8 p.m.; $20-$55. http://cap.ucla.edu/index.asp.

4. Taking dance to new heights

Heidi Duckler and her eponymous ensemble are well known for their site specific performances that double as insightful tours of L.A.'s cultural artifacts like historic jails, concrete riverbeds and laundromats.Gema Sandoval and her Danza Floricanto have a reputation for folkloric dance and cross-cultural explorations with other dance genres including a fascinating excursion with a modern dance choreographer a few years back. The two troupes team up for what is turning into a series under the title Expulsion. Earlier editions in Glendale and Koreatown paired Duckler's dancers with local companies to explore the possibilities of a three story scaffold-like structure erected in a vacant lot in a culturally significant area of L.A. The scaffolding is again the stage as Danza Floricanto joins Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre for Expulsion East L.A. The performance is free and is preceded at 6 p.m. with a live music performance and conversation with the creators. In the vacant lot at 1st and Boyle Ave., across from the historic Boyle Hotel and Mariachi Plaza, 1831 E. First St., Los Angeles, Mariachi Plaza, Metro Goldline Station; Sat., March 16, 7 p.m., free. (818) 784-8669, www.heididuckler.org.

Heidi Duckler Dance Theater and Danza Floricanto/USA in Expulsion
Heidi Duckler Dance Theater and Danza Floricanto/USA in Expulsion
Photo by Shannon Rodriguez

3. Last of the Flamenco Fridays

The landmark L.A. restaurant El Cid has been celebrating its 50th anniversary with four Flamenco Fridays, the last of which is this week. Not only are the shows $5, the anniversary event also offers celebratory $5 specials on food and drinks. El Cid, 4212 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; Fri., March 15, 8 p.m., $5. 323-668-0318, www.elcidla.com.

2. Two tricks, only one involves a pony

Pony Box Dance Theatre and Intersect Dance Theatre share the stage with photographer Johnny Naked, sculptor Joe Fernandez and composer Doug Hammond for an evening of debut performance and visual art titled ride me. For video previews see www.ponyboxdance.org/p/media.html and intersectdancetheatre.com/media/videos. At Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Sat., March 16, 8:30 p.m., $20, $15 seniors & students. 310-315-1459, www.highwaysperformance.org.

Pony Box Dance Theater & Intersect Dance Theatre at Highways
Pony Box Dance Theater & Intersect Dance Theatre at Highways
Photo courtesy of Pony Box Dance Theater

1. To dance the Impossible Dream

Festival Ballet offers Don Quixote with American Ballet Theatre principal dancers Hee Seo and Cory Stearns fronting the promising students of this respected Huntington Beach training company. At Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine; Sat., March 16, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., March 17, 2 p.m., $40, $36 senior, $30 child. 949-854-4646, www.thebarclay.org.

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