This week's dance events include L.A. Dance Project opening a new dance venue, more flamenco and more Cirque du Soleil.
4. Putting the moves on Pasadena
It's not yet as famous as the city's Rose Parade, but as it enters its seventh year, the Pasadena Dance Festival continues to grow in popularity and now stretches over two weekends. And while Southern California hosts a variety of dance festivals, many are basically concerts featuring lots of dance companies. This festival has a more expansive concept, not just presenting performances but emphasizing participatory dance and also grooming an audience for dance. Hosted by Pasadena-based Lineage Dance Company and its artistic director, Hilary Thomas, the festival's opening salvo last week included concerts and a day of free classes and workshops in Pasadena. This week the action moves to nearby La Cañada Flintridge for two concerts showcasing emerging choreographers and a daylong swirl of events on Saturday, with workshops and classes open to the public beginning at 9 a.m., plus two final concerts: a Saturday matinee featuring preprofessional student companies, and a finale that evening with an impressive lineup of professional companies and dancers, including Union Project Dance Company, Melinda Sullivan, Kin Dance Theater, FUSE Modern Dance, Vanessa Van Wormer Dance, Invertigo Dance, Janet Roston/Los Angeles Rock Opera Company, RhetOracle Dance and host Lineage Dance. Many events are free, and concert tickets cost about the same as a movie ticket, so check the website for the full schedule. At La Cañada Flintridge Preparatory School, 4543 Crown Ave., La Cañada Flintridge; Emerging Choreographers Concert, Thurs.-Fri., Feb. 20-21, 8 p.m.;
Student Company Concert, Sat., Feb. 22, 2 p.m., $10; Pasadena Dance Festival Concert, Sat., Feb. 22, 8 p.m., $20, $15 students & seniors. www.pasadenadancefestival.org.
3. Should humans really bend like that?
Each edition of Cirque du Soleil has a theme, and Totem looks at founding myths and Darwinian links, from the first amphibians crawling ashore to creatures taking flight. Per usual the visual effects, costumes and especially the lighting are breathtaking, the perfect setting for this edition's acrobats, jugglers and of course, those clowns.The visit offers a range of tickets from admission to VIP to just short of joining the cast. At the Santa Monica Pier, 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica; Tuesdays-Sundays. Thru March 16. 310-458-8900, tickets. www.cirquedusoleil.com.
2. Flamenco through the weekend
El Cid, the venerable Silver Lake restaurant, continues its 50th-anniversary celebration with weekend flamenco shows. Tickets are for the shows only; regular menu, tapas and cocktails available for purchase. Check the website for the performers and times. At El Cid, 4212 W. Sunset Blvd., Silverlake; Thru Feb. 28, $15. 323-668-0318, www.elcidla.com.
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1. L.A. Dance Project returns
Don't miss the chance to watch Charlie Hodges, the dancer who wowed Broadway in Twyla Tharp's Come Fly Away and now dazzles with L.A. Dance Project. This performance affords the rare opportunity to see the company in town with two works it's been touring, plus a preview of a new piece. Dance audiences also get to see a promising new downtown dance venue, the restored United Artists movie theater connected with the tony Ace Hotel. Despite its name (and its studio's location here), L.A. Dance Project mostly has been touring since its 2012 debut, although its dancers shimmied around Grand Central Station last October in the headphone opera Invisible Cities and Hodges has guested with at least one local company. LADP is in something of a transition period, with its high-profile founder Benjamin Millepied (yes, the former New York City Ballet star/choreographer who's now Mr. Natalie Portman) assuming the artistic directorship of the Paris Opera Ballet and another French-born, soon-to-retire NYCB star, Sebastien Marcovici, announced as the project's new ballet master. A strong New York connection also is present in two of the three works on the program, the U.S. premiere of Millepied's Reflections and Murder Ballads from NYCB's Justin Peck (who grew up in Encinitas). Oh, that sneak peek is of a new work from Japanese choreographer Hiroaki Umeda. Paris may get the premiere, but L.A. gets its first look at Umeda's choreography. At the Theatre at Ace Hotel Downtown, 933 S. Broadway, dwntwn.; Thurs.-Fri., Feb. 20-21, 8 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 22, 3 p.m.; $20-$125. www.ladanceproject.com.