This week's dance events include the launch of Los Angeles Ballet's Balanchine Festival and eight companies in Celebrate Dance!
5. Come and meet those dancing feet
Most of the year, Jamie Nichols prowls dance concerts and choreography festivals, applying her insight as a dancer, choreographer and teacher to identify the best of SoCal's vibrant but usually under-resourced dance troupes. Come spring, Nichols assumes the mantle of producer, inviting the cream of what she's seen to share the stage for one night in Celebrate Dance! Nichols has repeatedly been given honors for Outstanding Achievement for a Festival by the Lester Horton Awards, which honor L.A. dance; many of the companies participating tonight have won Horton Awards as well for their Celebrate Dance! performances. This year's lineup includes such returning troupes as L.A. Contemporary Dance Company and Lux Aeterna Dance Company, mixed with new faces including Nickerson-Rossi and Francisco Gella's Colabo Youth Dance Collective. Other invitees are Invertigo Dance Theatre, JazzAntiqua Dance Ensemble and Lydia Zimmer + Dancers. Usually a sell-out, the show is a highly anticipated chance to sample a curated roster of great dance while having to park only once. Preview videos of the companies at celebratedance.org. Catch the real thing at the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., March 9, 8 p.m.; $16-$36. alextheatre.org.
4. Let the Balanchine begin
Arguably the most important and influential choreographer of the 20th century, George Balanchine was trained in Russia, established his choreographic talent in Europe with the legendary Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo before moving to New York, where he established what eventually became the New York City Ballet. Los Angeles Ballet co-artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary have close ties with Balanchine and his legacy. Both danced with New York City Ballet and Balanchine personally selected Neary to stage his ballets which she has continued to do since his death around the world and for Los Angeles Ballet.
This year, on the 30th anniversary of Balanchine's death, LAB opens a three month Balanchine Festival centered on seven of Balanchine's greatest ballets divided into two programs (Gold and Red), each program presented at LAB's five home theaters. The Gold program opens this weekend with La Sonnambula, a one-act story ballet with love, jealousy, murder and a mysterious sleepwalker; Concerto Barocco, one of Balanchine's signature works set to Bach's Concerto in D-minor for Two Violins; Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, a bravura duet set to what was the original music for the Black Swan pas de deux; and Four Temperaments, with music Paul Hindemith composed at Balanchine's request. Special Festival events will include discussions and interviews with those who worked with Balanchine, dance critics and historians as well as an examination of Balanchine's Hollywood years with screenings of his film choreography. The opening night includes a 6 p.m. conversation with Neary discussing her experience working with Balanchine and the works on the program.
A complete list of performances and preview videos at www.losangelesballet.org. The Festival opens at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., March 9, 7:30 p.m., $24-$95. 310-937-6607, www.rbpac.com.
3. They dance like a rubberband
Choreographer Victor Quijada leads Rubberbandance, the popular ensemble known for its ability to combine hip hop with other types of contemporary dance. At Luckman Fine Arts Complex, 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles; Sat., March 9, 8 p.m., $25-$45. 323-343-6600, www.luckmanarts.org.
2. Contemporary Russian ballet
Helmed by Alla Duhova, Todes Russian Contemporary Ballet blends classical ballet, contemporary dance and hip-hop. This concert marks the troupes 25th anniversary and L.A. debut. At the Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles; Sun., March 10, 7:30 p.m., $60-$130, (818) 430-9953. www.livenation.com/venues/14361/the-wiltern.
1. Forever Flamenco brings Andalusia to L.A.
This edition of the long-running Forever Flamenco! series is titled Ecos de Andalucia (Echoes of Andalusia) and features dancers Adriana Maresma Fois, Adriana Maresma Fois, Manuel “de la Cruz” Gutierrez, and Mizuho Sato, with guitarist Juan Antonio Gómez and cantaor (singer) Antonio de Jerez. At the Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles; Sun., March 10, 8 p.m., $40. 323-663-1525, www.fountaintheatre.com.