5 Dance Shows to See in L.A. This Week, Including an Alternative to Venice's First Fridays

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Thu, May 1, 2014 at 3:33 AM
click to enlarge L.A. Contemporary Dance Company in I Ran - PHOTO BY TASO PAPADAKIS
  • Photo by Taso Papadakis
  • L.A. Contemporary Dance Company in I Ran

This week's dance shows include a show with one new work, two shows at Electric Lodge, three dances about being young, the first of four Thursdays of a new series and folklorico for Cinco de Mayo.

5. Dancing about Youth

In the film Gigi, the octogenarian roué played by septuagenarian roué Maurice Chevalier warbled that he was glad he was not young anymore. While that may have been true for early-20th century Paris, it's not a song for 21st-century L.A. For this youth-obsessed city, artistic director/choreographer Kate Hutter and her L.A. Contemporary Dance Company offer a triptych of dances under the banner Youth, with three choreographers offering differing perspectives on the subject.

Two of this company's strengths lie with Hutter: She has always seen the ensemble as a repertory company, never just a showcase for her own choreography, and she is not afraid to have her work seen alongside other strong choreographers' dances, as in this program. In The Better to See You With, Holly Rothschild from String Theory revisits the cautionary Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale as a graphic coming-of-age story. Dancer Nina McNeeley turns dancemaker and posits that infants know universal secrets in Demigods, a world premiere. Hutter contributes I Ran, which looks at how teens' typical high school trials and tribulations have been compounded by episodic violence. At Club Fais Do-Do, 5257 W. Adams Blvd., West Adams; Fri.-Sat., May 2-3, 8 p.m.; Sun., May 4, 7 p.m., $20 online, $25 at door. (323) 931-4636, www.faisdodo.comwww.lacdc.org.

4. Something to dance about on Thursdays

The new series Art and Action offers a Weekly Lab where performers and groups can show their work. The related 3rd Thursday is dedicated to a single production selected for fuller presentation. At Diavolo Performance Space, 616 Moulton Ave., dtwn.; Thursdays, 7 p.m., $5 Weekly Lab, $10 3rd Thursday. 323-225-4290. www.artandaction.org.

3. Cinco de Floricanto

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Gema Sandoval and her folkloric ensemble, Danza Floricanto/USA, presenting traditional works from Mexico. At ARC Pasadena, 1158 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Sat., May 3, 8 p.m.; Sun., May 4, 5 p.m., $15 advance purchase, $20 at door, 323-261-0385, www.arcpasadena.org.

2. All electric

This month's version of Venice's Electric Lodge's late night High Voltage series showcases Sheetal Gandhi, who draws on South Asian and western dance to compare Eastern and Western concepts of love. The free show is designed to complement the food trucks and gallery openings that define First Fridays on nearby Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Monday is quieter on that street, but the first Monday brings Max 10 Performance Laboratory, the feisty, funky and uncurated monthly showcase for dance and performance. Like a good laboratory, there's lots of experimentation and often surprisingly delightful results. At Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; High Voltage Fri., May 2, 9 p.m., free. Max 10, Mon., May 5, 7:30 p.m., $10. 310-306-1854, www.electriclodge.org.

click to enlarge Ate9 dANCE cOMPANY in mouth to mouth - PHOTO BY SCOTT SIMOCK
  • Photo by Scott Simock
  • Ate9 dANCE cOMPANY in mouth to mouth

1. Going gaga Mouth to Mouth

The shift key - challenged Ate9 dANCE cOMPANY and its director, Danielle Agami, are known devotees of Gaga. Not Lady Gaga, although her imaginative gyrations certainly qualify as dance, but the innovative movement aethestic of Ohad Naharin, who leads Israel's Batsheva Dance Company, where Agami once danced. Aimed at developing a dancer's full range of physical ability, the results, at least as personified by Ate9's eight dancers, are slow movements as detailed and liquid as a Tai Chi master, which can still explode, à la Jackie Chan, with powerful propulsive jumps and falls.

Over the last year, the troupe's calling card, Sally Meets Stu, drew attention with excerpts at several local dance festivals and the full work in smaller venues. Agami raised her own profile over the year working with Benjamin Millepied's L.A. Dance Project and creating a floor-bound solo for Melissa Barak of Barak Ballet. Not bad for a choreographer and troupe that relocated here from Seattle just a little more than a year ago.

Ate9's rising prospects include a move to a larger venue for the premiere of Agami's newest, mouth to mouth with an original score by L.A.-based composer Jodie Landau, performed live by modern music ensemble wild UP. What is it with these folks and that shift key? At Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., dwntwn.; Sat., April 26 & May 3, 8:30 p.m.; $30 general, $50 VIP, $25 students, seniors & veterans. (866) 811-411, www.thelatc.org/additional-events.

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