This week's dance events include dance trumping death and the return of the blue tent to Santa Monica

5. Cirque du Soleil by the sea

Each edition of Cirque du Soleil has a theme, and this time Totem looks at founding myths and Darwinian links from the first amphibians crawling ashore to creatures taking flight. Expect the mix of acrobatics, gymnastics, dance, music and spectacle that has taken Cirque du Soleil on its own evolution from Canadian street performances to international phenomenon. The visit offers a range of tickets from mere admission to V.I.P to just short of joining the cast. Go to this link for a complete listing of performance dates and times for the two month run and preview videos before the distinctive Blue circus tent takes up residence in the parking lot at the Santa Monica Pier, 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica; Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through March 16.  310-458-8900,


4. Soulful tribute #1
Subtitled A Tribute to the life of Albert Djanbazian, these performances of Priceless Soul  by Djanbazian Dance Company are both a tribute to choreographer Anna Djanbazian's late brother and a benefit for research into cancer to help others still battling cancer. Dancers include Albertossy Espinoza, Alex Crawford, Rubina Vartanians, Alina Ananian, Biayna Ayvazian, Tenie Avanessian, Maneh Farhadnejad, and Valerie Haapaniemi. Next week, the program is reprised at Glendale Community College. Cal State Northridge, Plaza del Sol Performance Hall, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Sat., Jan. 18, 8 p.m., $35-$45, 818- 677-3000,

3. Soulful tribute #2 
Composer Brandon Toh's music, his suicide, his journals, and his decade-long friendship with Lineage Dance choreographer Hilary Thomas underlie Thomas' consideration of suicide in Ceiling in the Floor.  At Lineage Performing Arts Center, 89 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena; Sat., Jan. 18, 8 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 19, 7 p.m., $20, $15 seniors & students. 626-844-7008,

Rachel Lopez and Arianne Hoffman in Sleep, Staring, Well; Credit: Photo by Gar Travis

Rachel Lopez and Arianne Hoffman in Sleep, Staring, Well; Credit: Photo by Gar Travis

2.  More Obsession #3 with The Key Game Project
Choreographer Kristen Smiarowski unveils Sleep, Staring, Well, the third installment of her ongoing response to Polish writer Ida Fink's short story The Key Game. Tickets will be sold for admission at 15 minute intervals. Once inside, audience members can move about the two story performance space to encounter dance performances, live music, art objects, as well as video and sound installations. After the performances, the installation continues on view through Jan. 25. At At Automata, 504 Chung King Court, dwntwn; Through Jan. 17, 8 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 18, 4 p.m., $15, $12 seniors & students,  213-819-6855,

1.  Forever Flamenco marathon
Knowing that everyone loves a three day weekend, the folks behind the long-running Forever Flamenco! start the new year breaking with their traditional monthly Sunday showcase, instead offering up All Star Flamenco Weekend this three day event. Antonio Triana and Company perform on Friday and Saturday while Lakshmi Basile and Company take the stage on Sunday. Triana features dancers Vanessa Albalos, Manuel Gutierrez and French-born, Spanish-trained Fanny Ara, singers José Cortés and Antonio de Jerez, with guitarists Gabriel Osuna and Triana. Dancer Basile is backed by singer Jesus Montoya, bassist Jeff Basile and guest artists guitarist Pedro Cortés percussionist Luis de la Tota. . At the Fountain, 5100 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles; Jan. 17-19, 8 p.m., $40, $60 for two shows.

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