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Dance

5 Dance Shows to See in L.A. This Week, Including Shakespeare in Venice

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Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 4:58 AM
click to enlarge Tere O'Connor Dance - PHOTO COURTESY OF TERE O'CONNOR DANCE
  • Photo courtesy of Tere O'Connor Dance
  • Tere O'Connor Dance


This week's dance shows include street dance, two troupes taking a page from literature and a documentary on ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq


5. Can't we all just dance along?

The Skirball Cultural Center doesn't present much dance, but when it does, the group usually is a modern/contemporary company, usually from New York, usually worth attention, and usually connected with Jewish culture. Choreographer Tere O'Connor and his Tere O'Connor Dance clearly fill the first three criteria, and the two works being performed, Sister and Poem, may touch on the fourth element. As a choreographer, O'Connor is known for finding unexplored middle ground between seeming unalterably opposite elements. The two works scheduled here are part of a multiyear project titled BLEED, which O'Connor has described as exploring how conflicting cultures eventually blend in a symbiotic relationship. Given how much blood is spilled in cultural/geopolitical/religious conflicts, the search for blending rather than bleeding is a noble endeavor. 

After seeing parts of BLEED in a studio setting, Skirball director of programs Jordan Peimer convinced O'Connor to stage the performance in the Getty Gallery rather than the theater. As an extra bonus, on Saturday morning, O'Connor and the dancers offer Movement for Non-Dancers, a free workshop about his approach to movement and a chance for participants to develop a bit of their own choreography. (Advance reservations required: workshops@skirball.org.) Skirball Cultural Center, Getty Gallery, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Thurs.-Fri., April 3-4, 8 p.m.; $25, $20 full-time students. Workshop: Movement for Non-Dancers, Sat., April 5, 11 a.m.; free with required reservation. (310) 440-4500, www.skirball.org.

4. Musing on a muse


Tanaquil Le Clercq was the first of George Balanchine's muses who was completely his product. Trained at his School of American Ballet, she absorbed Balanchine's evolving ideas about how ballet dancers should move, became his principal dancer at the New York City Ballet, and became his wife after Balanchine divorced principal dancer Maria Tallchief. With her lithe frame and long limbs, Le Clercq set the mold for what became Balanchine's and America's image of a ballerina. She also inspired Jerome Robbins, NYCB's other resident genius. But at age 27, at the height of her powers, polio shattered the pedestal. Le Clercq today is not as well known as she deserves to be, perhaps because she predates the golden era of the 1970s when dance, and especially ballet, were not just pledge-week features but a regular presence on PBS and other outlets. Documentarian Nancy Buirski brings deserved attention to this extraordinary dancer at this screening of Afternoon of a Faun, which includes a Q&A with Buirski. At the Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Wed., April 9, 7:30 p.m., $11. , 323-466-3456, www.american​​cinemathequecalendar.com.


3. Angry dancers?

Anyone who missed the dancers tearing up the Ford Amphitheater stage with their summer performance of Furious Beauty, here's another chance. Street dance moves to the stage at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., mid-City; Sat., April 5, 8 p.m., $15 in advance, $20 at door. 323-964-9768, www.ebonyrep.org.

click to enlarge Flower of the Season dancers in Return to Abstinence - PHOTO BY MORLEIGH STEINBERG
  • Photo by Morleigh Steinberg
  • Flower of the Season dancers in Return to Abstinence

2. Abstinence and Samuel Beckett in Venice

Now in its 10th year, the Flower of the Season is Body Weather Laboratory and the Arcane Collective's annual offering. This year they bring Return to Abstinence, inspired by Samuel Beckett's trilogy novel Molloy, Malone Dies, and the Unnamable. This is the first installment of new work from choreographers Morleigh Steinberg and Oguri. Butoh dancer Oguri performs with Spanish dancer Andres Corchero to music from Feltlike with Paul Chavez. At the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; Fri.-Sat., April 4-5, 8 p.m.; Sun., April 6, 4 p.m., $15 in advance, $20 at door, $15 students & seniors, 310-306-1854, www.electriclodge.org.
click to enlarge Union Project Dance Company in W.S. - PHOTO BY BILLIE DONYA
  • Photo by Billie Donya
  • Union Project Dance Company in W.S.

1. Also, Shakespeare in Venice

Shakespeare may have been mostly about the words, but those words launched a slew of ballets. On the occasion of his 450th birthday, choreographer Mariana Oliveira and the dancers her Union Project Dance Company celebrate the unspoken messages of the wordsmith with W.S. Of course, the dancers get some back up from spoken word taken from the Bard's writings. Enjoy the First Friday action on Abbot Kinney then catch W.S. at the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; Fri., April 4, 9 p.m., free. 310-306-1854, www.electriclodge.org.


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