This week's list of dance shows to see includes one that locavores might enjoy and another set in an unlikely corner of Van Nuys.
5. Local, free-range dancing
The locavore movement comes to dance with the debut of 100% Local Free-Range Dance Series. Laura Karlin and her Invertigo Dance Theatre have rounded up six other respected, local choreographers and their contemporary dance troupes and spread them over the next three Sundays. At each show Invertigo Dance Theatre and two other companies take up the challenge of demystifying the creative process. The opening weekend includes Arianne MacBean/The Big Show Co. with Nickerson-Rossi Dance. Oct. 21 brings in Kate Hutter and her L.A. Contemporary Dance Company, plus Nate Hodges with his RhetOracle Dance Company. The Oct. 28 closing includes Hilary Thomas and her Lineage Dance Company, plus String Theory's Holly Rothschild and Robbie Cook. Many of these troupes arrive with strong track records in making dance more accessible. Lineage Dance regularly hosts informal dance shows with wine and conversation, while Rothschild was part of String Theory's recent site-specific event at the FlyAway bus station. This new series at a Westside venue promises some fun, inventive and perhaps enlightening ideas about making and viewing dance at Brasil Brasil Cultural Center, 11928 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Sun., Oct 14, 21 & 28, 7 p.m.; $15. invertigodance.org.
4. Bus station dancing
It's not clear where the idea came from, but over a year ago someone in the L.A. City Cultural Affairs Department bought in to choreographer Sarah Elgart's idea for a site specific dance performance at the FlyAway airport bus terminal. Unsuspecting bus passengers waiting to board the commuter bus to LAX became the audience for this pop up site specific performance. The favorable response encouraged the city to fund three dance troupes this year, so it is apropos that this triptych of shows closes with the return of Sarah Elgart's FlyAway Home. This reprise of Elgart's piece is the last chance to enjoy this year's series, but here's hoping there are more to come. Van Nuys FlyAway Bus Station, 7610 Woodley Ave., Van Nuys; Sat., Oct. 13, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 14, 7 p.m., free.
3. Indonesian dance icon makes U.S. debut
In Indonesia "revered" is almost choreographer Ery Mefri's first name so often is his name spoken as revered Ery Mefri. A member of West Sumatra's Minangkabau ethnic minority, Mefri's signature choreographic style is dervived from a combination of spiritual movement and martial arts elements employing controlled extended balances, chanting, clapping and body percussion. Mefri's company Nan Jombang makes its U.S. debut and opens REDCAT'S Sharon Lund Disney Dance Series with Rantau Berbisik (Whisperings of Exile), telling the tale of young men who must leave their native villages and make their way in the outside world. Performances at REDCAT: Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, 631 W. Second St., Los Angeles; Sat., Oct. 13, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 14, 3 p.m., $20-$25, $16-$20 students. 213-237-2800, www.redcat.org.
2. Josie Walsh lets the secret out of the garden
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L.A.-based choreographer Josie Walsh has set her hard-driving contemporary ballets on Los Angeles Ballet as well as her own company MYO. The dancemaker who seems more inspired by rock concerts than storybooks took a new tack with Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel The Secret Garden for Santa Barbara's State Street Ballet. SoCal gets a second look as Festival Ballet performs The Secret Garden. Walsh's frequent collaborator Paul Rivera Jr. provides an original score and and David Bazemoreis contributes a multi-media scenic design to take the audience from India to an English boarding school. The Secret Garden is the centerpiece, but the program also includes Marius Petipa's Dance of the Animated Frescoes from The Little Humpbacked Horse, the premiere of SAX-TET by choreographer Jeroen Verbruggen, and Lemuria by choreographer Lillian Bareito. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine; Sun., Oct. 14, 4 p.m., $35, $30 seniors, $20 children 12 & under. 949-854-4646, www.thebarclay.org.
1. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet: a tale of two cities
The fervor is gone, but for a time in the 1980s the idea of arts organizations having two home cities was in vogue. California saw the Cleveland Ballet became Cleveland/San Jose Ballet and New York-based Joffrey Ballet became Joffrey New York/LA...for a while. The Cleveland Board declared bankruptcy and Ballet San Jose shortened its name and settled into Silicon Valley. After soap operas with the L.A. Board trying to fire the Joffrey artistic director, the Board resigned and Joffrey found a new home and name as Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is one of the few survivors of that trend with home bases in both Aspen, Colorado and Santa Fe, New Mexico. One of its artistic directors Tom Mossbrucker danced with the Joffrey during its dual home period and may have figured out how to make this type of match up work artistically as well as financially. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet regularly tours and has built a fan base for its energetic dancers and polished performances of contemporary ballets. Notably, respected choreographers like Jiri Kylian, Jorma Elo and Alejandro Cerrudo have entrusted the company with their works. This visit offers Cerrudo's Last set to music by Henryk Gorecki, Kylian's Stamping Ground with music by Carlos Chavez, and Elo's Over Glow, with music by Mendelssohn and Beethoven. Richard & Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach; Sat., Oct. 13, 8 p.m., $45. 562-985-7000, www.carpenterarts.org.