This week's dance events include the return of the ever-popular Alvin American Dance Theater, dances about desire and a body to be discovered at UCLA
5. Alvin Ailey's new Battle plan
Defying the world of Photoshop, those beautiful, ripped bodies on banners announcing the return of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater are the real thing. The late Alvin Ailey created beautiful dances and nurtured his eponymous company, considered among the most popular dance troupes in America, if not the world. He also inspired the next generation of choreographers.
Ailey's work and his legacy are celebrated in three programs this AAADT visit. The opening program (repeated Sat. eve.), Ailey Spirit, offers Ronald K. Brown's Grace and Ohad Naharin's Minus 16, the latter incorporating elements of improvisation and audience participation. Classic Ailey (Fri. & Sat. mat.) serves up sections from Ailey's deep vault of dances. 21st Century Ailey (Sun.) showcases up-and-comer Kyle Abraham's Another Night, artistic director Robert Battle's Strange Humors and the company's local debut of Jiri Kylian's sensual masterwork Petite Mort. As the new artistic director (only the company's third), Battle continues the company tradition of closing shows with Ailey's Revelations. This trio of programs pays homage to the Ailey tradition, but also signals a Battle-plan to blaze new trails. At the Music Center Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Fri.-Sat., April 19-20, 7:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun., April 20-21, 2 p.m.; $28-$110. www.musiccenter.org.
4. Dancing about the birds and the bees
Even those who never watch the Discovery Channel are aware that some flowers unfold their petals to a bee's touch, opening themselves up to give greater access. Such observations of the birds and the bees were the starting point for choreographer Donna Sternberg's ongoing anthropomorphic explorations of the connections between nature and human nature, which she has consolidated in Desire…the culmination. The full evening-length work promises to explore parasitical desire, the role of beauty, intoxication and pollination/sexuality. The dancers get help from spoken text along with original compositions by Ken Christianson and Lizbeth Scott. At Live Arts Los Angeles, 4210 Panamint St., Los Angeles; Fri.-Sat., April 19-20, 8:30 p.m., $25,$20 students & seniors, $5 for the post performance reception, 310-260-1198. www.liveartsla.com. www.dsdancers.com.
3. Sugar and shoes
A clutch of choreographers show off their latest in this edition of New Shoes #2. Carmella Hermann and Ally Voye began collaborating inspired by their mutual obsession with sugar. Their first product, a short film employing donuts and high heels led to You Can't Have Just One, a solo performed by Voye previewing what eventually will be evening-length exploration of food obsession and body consciousness (something dancers never think about). The program also includes Roya Carreras' _ate you, Mechanism Dance Theater's The Panoptic Tendency, Jordan Saenz' Out of Narrow Spaces, and Lara Wilson's testimonials on behalf of a prelude. At Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., April 19-20, 8:30 p.m., $20, $15 students & seniors. 310-315-1459. www.highwaysperformance.org.
2.McIntyre's back in town
Choreographer Trey McIntyre creates events as much as dances. With the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at the Hollywood Bowl, the dancers appeared costumed and masked as skeletons. At Orange County's Segerstrom, a caped McIntyre joined his dancers to lead the audience out of the theater for an al fresco encore. With superbly trained dancers as comfortable in pointe shoes as bare feet, it's always a treat to find out what McIntyre's been up to since the last visit. At Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; thru April 19, 7:30 p.m., $49-$79. 310-434-3412, www.thebroadstage.com.
1. Vulnerable bodies
MFA candidate/choreographer Alexandra Shilling is going to be busy. For two days her Pivot Point, a site specific durational performance piece, puts a vulnerable body at UCLA's Wilson Plaza from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. At 8 p.m. Shilling joins another MFA candidate, Carson Efird Westerlund, to serve up new choreography in a more traditional setting under the banner Exit Strategies. Pivot Point at UCLA's Wilson Plaza, Westwood; Thurs.-Fri., April 25-26, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., free. Exit Strategies at UCLA Glorya Kaufman Dance Theater, 120 Westwood Plaza, Wstwd.; Thurs.-Fri., Aprl 25-26, 8 p.m., $15, $8 students with i.d. 310-825-4321. www.ucla.edu.