Twin Phoenix, Rising From Ashes
We're not sure what's more impressive -- that two preeminent dance companies arrive here the same week, or that both are enjoying resurgences led by female artistic directors who once were their company's star dancers. What are the odds? Since its founding by Arthur Mitchell, the first African-American dancer with New York City Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem showed that dancers of color could go toe to toe with the rest of the world of classical ballet. Eight years ago, financial woes forced DTH to downscale, but after recently returning to performing, it gained a standing ovation this past summer at the Kennedy Center's Dance Across America Festival. Now it returns to L.A. for the first time in nine years, with this visit (and its revival) led by new artistic director Virginia Johnson, formerly the company's principal dancer. And though the reasons for the hiatus taken by the Martha Graham Dance Company were different, tied to a tumultuous probate dispute following the death of its founder, that company also has been reasserting its influence under the leadership of former star dancer Janet Eilber. In her lifetime, Martha Graham entrusted her own roles to Eilber, and after the probate court ruled the dancing could begin, Eilber was entrusted with the company's future. She is credited with reaffirming the company's dedication to Graham's legacy, even while reinvigorating its repertoire with edited versions of Graham classics and new choreography. With Martha Graham Dance Company selected to officially open a new Beverly Hills venue and Dance Theatre Harlem's vibrant reappearance, it may just be that a woman's touch is what a phoenix needs to rise. Dance Theatre of Harlem at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos; Fri., Nov. 8, 8 p.m.; $50-$80. (800) 300-4345, cerritoscenter.com. Martha Graham Dance Company at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Fri., Nov. 8, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 9, 3 & 8 p.m.; $59-$99. (310) 746-4000, thewallis.org/events.php.
Fri., Nov. 8, 8 p.m., 2013
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