This week's dance shows list includes a showcase for a Russian ballerina, the return of Pennington Dance Group, the debut of a new company and South African dance theater.

5. Vishneva comes to conquer

Having conquered the major challenges of the classical ballet repertoire, Russian ballerina Diana Vishneva segued into a highly successful 2008 showcase with new works created for her by four of the most sought-after contemporary choreographers. The success of that project launched this sequel, Diana Vishneva: On the Edge. In this edition, Vishneva returns with new dances with a decidedly French flair. Choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot directs Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, which offers a circus-themed Nutcracker and other inventive twists on the classics. Here Maillot turns to composer Danny Elfman for Switch, a pas de trois for Vishneva and two stars from Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Bernice Coppieters and Gaëtan Morlotti. The second choreographer, American-born Carolyn Carlson, danced with Alwin Nikolais' company before moving to Europe, where she built her reputation and directs contemporary choreography programs in Paris and Roubaix. Carlson turns Vishneva loose in a 25-minute solo, Woman in a Room. At Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa; Wed.-Thurs., Nov. 6-7, Sat., Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 10, 2 p.m.; $39-$125. (714) 556-2787,

4. A dancing warrior

South African dance, theater and vocal music blend in Exit/Exist, as choreographer Gregory Maqoma recounts a 19th-century Xhosa warrior's struggle to retain cultural traditions against Western colonial and cultural forces. South African vocal ensemble Complete provides live music. Video previews at At REDCAT: Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, 631 W. Second St., dwntwn.; Thurs.-Sat., Nov. 7-9, 8:30 p.m.; Nov. 10, 7 p.m., $20-$25, $16-$20 students. 213-237-2800,

Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre in "Groundskeepers"; Credit: Photo by Andrei Andreev

Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre in “Groundskeepers”; Credit: Photo by Andrei Andreev

3. Heidi Duckler's dancers go up on the roof

The dancers of Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre are used to getting dirty. Over the years, the city's preeminent site-specific dance company has explored the concrete banks of the Los Angeles River, historic jails, underground streetcar garages and, most recently, scaffoldlike constructs in vacant lots. Audiences revel in this troupe's inventive and informative explorations of L.A.'s often forgotten cultural treats. For the company's newest excursion, The Groundskeepers, the dancers enter the once-pristine environs of a Mission Revival-style hospital as media artists join the usual assemblage of dancers, writers, singers and musicians to provide a last hurrah for the historic structure, which is scheduled to be rebuilt as affordable housing. Audience members are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes, be prepared to walk, and bring a jacket as the performance travels from the entry way to the chapel, the boiler room, the rooftop and outdoors, where media artist Refik Anadol and lighting designer Grant Dunn promise projections to illuminate the hospital's finale. The Nov. 2 show includes a groundbreaking ceremony at 5:30 p.m. and a pre-performance party on the roof. At Linda Vista Hospital, 610 St. Louis St., Boyle Heights; Fri., Nov. 1, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 2, 5:30 p.m.; Thurs.-Sat., Nov. 7-9, 8 p.m.; $50 (Nov. 2 only, includes preshow party), $25, $20 students & seniors.

See also: 5 Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week

2. New ballets for a new company

Former American Ballet Theatre star Marie-France (now Marie-France Lévesque) is the force behind L.A. Dance Company, a new chamber ballet company. After a preview performance at San Pedro's Tri-Arts Festival in September, this is the company's official debut performance, with pas de deux from the classical repertoire and new works by noted local choreographers including former San Francisco Ballet principal dancer Mark Lopes, former Paris Opera principal dancer Patrick Frantz and former ABT dancers Craig Williams, Lorin Johnson and Lévesque. Music and vocal interludes complete the program and give the dancers a chance to catch their breath. Top ticket price includes a VIP Champagne post-performance reception. At Scherr Forum Theater, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks; Sat., Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m., $35-$55, 818-627-9083,

See also: Our Latest Theater Reviews

Pennington Dance Group; Credit: Photo by Denise Leitner

Pennington Dance Group; Credit: Photo by Denise Leitner

1. Pennington Dance Group tests how the winds “Blow”

Choreographer John Pennington and an octet of dancers unveil Pennington's latest, Blow, considering the winds of choice and circumstance that affect humans in matters of love and life. The program also includes the quintet Out Of, against a backdrop of enormous watercolor panels by visual artist Susan Rankaitis. Works by PDG dancers Li Chang Rothermich, Michael Szanyi and Tom Tsai complete the program. Other dancers include Justin Coates, Danae McWatt, Travis Richardson, Edwin Siguenza and Yvette Wulff. At At ARC Pasadena, 1158 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 1-2, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 3, 5 p.m., $20, $15 students,

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