Self-Defense Disguised as Dance, and Other Dance Shows to See This Week

DanceBrazil
DanceBrazil
Photo by Andrea Mohin

This week’s dance shows include Brazilian dance in Beverly Hills, contemporary ballet in Santa Monica, and modern dance in Long Beach with ballerina Wendy Whelan partnered by hot choreographer Kyle Abraham who brings his own dancers to Westwood.

5. Barak is back

Barak Ballet, the contemporary ballet troupe led by choreographer Melissa Barak returns with three works including the newest from Barak, Middle of Somewhere premiered last spring at Sacramento Ballet’s respected Modern Masters series, plus the reprise of her Yueh Fei. Choreographer Nicolo Fonte’s Left Unsaid completes the program. Based in L.A., Barak uses both local dancers and outside dancers who have worked with the interesting choreographers she recruits. Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., Feb. 6-7, 8 p.m.; $35-$100. 310-434-3200, thebroadstage.com.

Barak Ballet
Barak Ballet
Photo by Anne Slattery

4. Dancers invade San Marino

Continuing its site sensitive brand of home invasion dance, HomeLA takes its band of dancers and performing artists to San Marino where the owners and their son will welcome small groups for intimate performances geared to the home’s architecture and ambiance. Not clear if the home’s two cats will be welcoming or merely tolerant of the intruders. Residence, address provided with reservation; Sun., Feb. 8, 3, 5 & 7 p.m.; $15, $6 for the afterparty. homelasanmarino.brownpapertickets.com.

HomeLA/San Marino
HomeLA/San Marino
Photo courtesy of HomeLA

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3. First dance festival in February

Several L.A.-based troupes are among the baker’s dozen selected to join the host Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre for the 5th So-Cal Dance Invitational. The two day event draws from San Diego, L.A. and Orange Counties and while most are contemporary dance troupes there are some interesting selections that promise to spice things up. Look for The PGK Dance Project, C. Eule Dance, Axxiom Dance Collective, Fuse Modern Dance, The Assembly, Rubans Rouge Dance Company, Encore Dance Company, MashUp Contemporary Dance Company, Sarah Rodenhouse & Victoria Brown, Mattidance Company, Elke Calvert Dance Project, Jackie Dew and Dancers, Rhythm& Shoes, and Opera del Espacio. At Golden West College Theater, 15744 Golden West St., Huntington Beach; Fri.-Sat., Feb. 6-7; $15, $13 students, seniors & children under 12. 714-895-8150 x1, gwctheater.com

So-Cal Dance Invitational
So-Cal Dance Invitational
Photo courtesy of Rubans Rouges

2. Kyle Abraham with Wendy Whelan, then with his own

She may have retired as a principal with the New York City Ballet, but Wendy Whelan certainly hasn’t given up the spotlight as she goes solo, well sort of, with Wendy Whelan: Restless Creature, with Whelan in a suite of four duets created in collaboration with choreographers Alejandro Cerrudo, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks and Kyle Abraham, each of whom partners Whelan for this show. On Thursday, Abraham brings his own dancers and his distinctive contemporary choreography to town for two different programs demonstrating why he who won a 2013 MacArthur genius award. Wendy Whelan: Restless Creature at Carpenter Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach; Sat. Feb. 7, 8 p.m.;$45-$50, 562-985-7000, https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe/9890682. Kyle Abraham at UCLA Royce Hall, 340 Royce Dr., Wstwd.; Thurs.-Fri., Feb. 12-13, 8 p.m.; $29-$69. 310-825-2101, cap.ucla.edu.

Wendy Whelan: Restless Creature
Wendy Whelan: Restless Creature
Photo by Christopher Duggan

1. Self-defense disguised as dance

Brazil imported 40 percent of the African slaves brought to the Western hemisphere to work the Brazilian sugar cane plantations and in 1888, Brazil was the last western country to abolish slavery. Capoeira is now regarded as an artistic blending of martial arts and dance, but reportedly began as a type of self-defense for Brazilian slaves. Since such self-defense was prohibited, Capoeira dance was a disguise. Since 1977, artistic director Jelon Vieira and his New York-based company DanceBrazil have displayed, honed and elevated Capoeira’s mixed heritage of dance and martial arts. Not surprisingly, the company’s works often have a theme of the disenfranchised such as Gueto (Ghetto) choreographed by Vieira to music of Marcos Carvalho which is one of three scheduled works. Expect the strong athletic dancers to do justice to both the modern dance and the high-flying acrobatics of Capoeira that burst like fireworks in the choreography. Bram Goldsmith Theater Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills; Fri., Feb. 6, 8 p.m., Sat., Feb. 7, 3 & 8 p.m.; $33-$99. 310-746-4000, thewallis.org.


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