This week's list includes dancing about “mother f****ers,” dancers with disabilities, and 11 dance troupes all in one show.
5. Christine Suarez takes on the mother f****ers
Long before “binders of women” became a catch phrase, women had been deeply engaged in the juggling of careers and children. For artists, whose creations require attention and energy much like a human child, that juggling act acquires special meaning. Christine Suarez, choreographer and mother, has clearly given this tense dynamic serious thought. Known for her thoughtful, irreverent and humorous insights, Suarez brings her ruminations to the stage in the L.A. premiere of Mother.F****er. After the matinee, students from the Arleta Cal-Safe High School perform an original dance-theater work about motherhood. Unclear if there are astericks in their title. At Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica,Fri., Oct. 26, 8:30 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 27, 3 & 8:30 p.m., $20, $15 seniors & students. 310-315-1459, www.highwaysperformance.org.
4. Axis Dance does wheelies
London hosted the Special Olympics, but L.A is host to a Very Special Arts Festival. SoCal has been in the forefront of dance that involves dancers with disabilities. The late Zina Bethune was a pioneer in what Axis Dance Company calls “physically integrated dance.” Axis itself evolved out of a movement class for those in wheelchair and over the past 25 years has built a following for its inventive collaborations involving dancers with and without disabilities. Axis performs in two venues this weekend. First in the Music Center Plaza as part of this celebration of student artistic achievement, some with disabilities, some without. The program will include a reprise of The Narrowing, which Axis performed on TV's So You Think You Can Dance. On Saturday, Axis rolls across the street to the Grand Park for two more free shows. At the Music Center Plaza, 135 Grand Ave.; L.A., Fri., Oct. 26, 9:30 a.m.; Sat., Oct. 27, 11 a.m. & 1 p.m., free. 213-972-7499. Also at Grand Park Performance Lawn, near Hill St. between Temple & 1st St., dwntwn.; Sat., Oct. 27, 11 a.m. & 1 p.m.; free. www.grandpark.lacounty.gov.
3. Last chance to Catch Your Breath
Not too many decades ago, Angelenos saw the air they were breathing on a daily basis. Today, L.A.'s serious smog days are far fewer, but issues of breath and breathing still carry meaning and concern for L.A.'s doyen of site specific performance Heidi Duckler and her eponymous company. On this excursion, the dancers, writers, actors and musicians that make up Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre guide the audience around the Barlow Respiratory Hospital grounds for Catch Your Breath. The tour promises an exploration of the physical site as well as metaphysical questions about breath and movement and being. An acute care hospital specializing in respiratory patients for more than a century, Barlow Hospital is known for its success in weaning respiratory patients off of their ventilators, teaching them how to breathe again on their own. As usual, Duckler and her collaborators draw from the human stories as a part of the site's history. After the Thursday opening, only four performances more performances this weekend. Guests are advised to wear walking shoes and dress to keep warm. The performance moves apace, but with stops to Catch Your Breath at the Barlow Respiratory Hospital, 2000 Stadium Way, dwntwn.; Fri.-Sun., Oct 26 -28, 7 & 9 p.m.; $25. www.heididuckler.org or (818) 784-8669
2. A Chinese firebird plus Cinderella
Once known as Canton, Guangzhou is China's third largest city and home to the classically trained Guangzhou Ballet of China. The company has an established relationship with Long Beach Ballet's David Wilcox, having performed his Nutcracker here a decade ago. The company returns with two performances of Wilcox' Cinderella on Saturday and a single performance of The Phoenix on Friday. Bearing similarities with The Firebird, The Phoenix blends classical ballet with a traditional Chinese tale of a young man who captures a beautiful bird, releases it and gains a princess. This version has a second part where the young man later on is remonstrated by the bird for bad behavior. At the Long Beach Terrace Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, Sat., Oct. 27, 2 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 28, 2 & 8 p.m., $28-$75. 562-436-3661.
1. 11 dance troupes show they can get along
Akin to an evening of small plates served up by an array of talented chefs, 11 locally-based companies get a well-deserved showcase with each offering a “small plates” sampling of their differing dance styles and choreographic concerns. Participants include savory Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban dished up by Viver Brazil and Pat Taylor's JazzAntiqua, spicy bollywood from Blue13 Dance Company, south of the border tastings from Contra-Tiempo and the Latina Dance Theater Project, a bit of paella from Alma Y Corazon Flamenco, and upscale urban flavors from Paula Present's PTERO Dance Theater, Donna Sternberg and Dancers, Push Dance Company, Syncopated Ladies and Lineage Dance. A terrific chance to experience L.A.'s versitile, varied and vibrant dance scene, 11 companies at one time. At the L.A. Theater Center, 514 S. Spring St., dwntwn.; Fri., Oct. 26, 8 p.m.; $15 at door.