This week's dance events include two classical ballet stars go contemporary, the ultimate dance convention, National Dance Day and two programs showcasing new choreography

5. Everybody dance!
Grab your dancing shoes and head downtown to join choreographers from So You Think You Can Dance for this year's National Dance Day. Founded by SYTYCD's Nigel Lythgoe and Dizzy Feet Foundation, its free events will have feet flying in several U.S. cities. In L.A., the Music Center is a co-sponsor for an all-day event inviting everyone, no matter their age or agility, to enjoy the chance to dance as the action moves from Grand Park to the fountains to the Music Center Plaza. But first! Go online ( to learn the routines, which range from easy to advanced. Then on Saturday, starting at 10 a.m., join the dancing throngs in Grand Park led by Lythgoe and SYTYCD choreographer Chris Scott. At noon, cool down at the Grand Park fountain as Baby Loves Disco hosts a family-friendly dance party, or mosey over to the Music Center and spend the afternoon learning repertoire in specific styles from top-notch local companies including CONTRA-TIEMPO (urban Latin, from 12:15 to 1 p.m.), Lula Washington Dance Theatre (contemporary/Afro-Cuban, from 1:15 to 2 p.m.), and Culture Shock (hip-hop/street dance, from 2 to 3:15 p.m.). Now in its third year, the day brings so much fun, it's easy to forget that its goal is to highlight the health and wellness benefits of exercising through dance. Dancers know that already; National Dance Day lets the rest of us in on the secret. At Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn., and the Music Center Plaza, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Sat., July 26, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; free. 213-972-8080,

4. Now that's original
The 11th annual New Original Works Festival, better known as the NOW Festival, opens for three weeks of new original dance and other performing arts. Program I opens with dancer Wilfried Souly collaborating with Senegalese kora player Amadou Fall and multi-instrumentalist Tom Moose; choreographer Rosanna Gamson and her troupe World Wide with Still; and contemporary opera from Overtone Industries. Next Thursday, Program II opens with Carole Kim’s multimedia work with dance by Oguri and Roxanne Steinberg, table-top puppetry by Marsian De Lellis and dance and music by d. Sabela grimes. Program III closes the series with a theatrical work by John Fleck and dance by Ate9 dANCEcOMPANY. At REDCAT: Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, 631 W. Second St., dwntwn.; Thurs.-Sat., 8:30 p.m. Thru Aug. 9, $40 festival pass, $20, $16 students. 213-237-2800,

National Choreographers Initiative; Credit: Photo by Dave Friedman

National Choreographers Initiative; Credit: Photo by Dave Friedman

3. Dance as speed dating 
For three weeks, four choreographers work with 16 dancers they’ve just met to produce new choreography, presented for one night only. It's National Choreographers Initiative and 10 years of success attests to the sharp eye of artistic director Molly Lynch in assembling the ingredients for this alchemy. As longtime director of Ballet Pacifica, Lynch gravitated toward new choreography; after she left that company, she focused exclusively on her passion through NCI. To launch the next decade, Lynch selected choreographers Barry Kerollis, Gabrielle Lamb, Philip Neal and Garrett Smith for this year's NCI. Catch a preview at  At Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine; Sat., July 26, 8 p.m., $32-$60, $20 students. 949-854-4646,

2. What’s a DancerPalooza?
Summer is the time for dance intensives offering classes with high-profile choreographers and teachers. This weeklong Dancerpalooza adds an array of public performances in the dance expo hall plus nightly ticketed performances. The performances include works from Stacey Tookey, Jaci Royal, Movement Lifestyle and So You Think You Can Dance alums Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance and Kyle Robinson who perform as Shaping  Sound and offer a sneak peak at their new show before it goes on tour. Complete details on performances as well as classes and workshops at At Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach,  Thru July 27. 562-436-3636.

Ivan Vasiliev and Natalia Osipova; Credit: Photo by Stas Levshin

Ivan Vasiliev and Natalia Osipova; Credit: Photo by Stas Levshin

1. Toe shoes? yes! Tutus? no!

Natalia Osipova is considered by many to be the reigning ballerina dancing today and Ivan Vasiliev is equally stellar. They were established stars in Russia, then left to guest with American Ballet Theatre and others, dazzling audiences in classics like Giselle. This showcase was originally scheduled for January with a classical emphasis, but was postponed and in the interim Solo for Two took on a more contemporary feel with works by big-name modern choreographers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Ohad Naharin and Arthur Pita. At Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa; July 25-26, 7:30 p.m.; July 26-27, 2 p.m., $25-$139. 714-556-2746,

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