Once upon a time, several long decades ago, dance companies toured the U.S. with help from the National Endowment for the Arts and toured the world with funding from the State Department. Today, touring is largely self-financed — a situation with perils evidenced recently by the financially fueled Music Center cancellation of an announced visit by a European company. One hopeful sign is the two-year-old California Touring Project, which this weekend brings five California choreographers to a shared stage with an innovative program showcasing dances performed in the round. Liz Casebolt and Joel Smith of casebolt and smith promise that while their Having Words may start as a duet, audience members will be recruited for assistance as the dance progresses. Susan Rose is joined by Kelli King for Light Contradictions, with improvised elements suggested by verbal commands. Cid Perlman did time in both San Francisco and L.A. leading the troupe Nesting Dolls before relocating to Santa Cruz. Here she debuts Fire Sale, a piece for four dancers and two green chairs, set to an original score from violinist Jonathan Segel. San Diego’s Yolande Snaith contributes Re-Ordered Around, set to a suite of Bach violin music performed live. Not as grand as a State Department world tour, but the California Touring Project may well prove a life boat for dance companies navigating troubling economic tides. Diavolo Dance Space, 6161 Moulton Ave., dwntwn.; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 21-22, 8 p.m., Sun., Nov. 23, 6 p.m.; $20, $16 students & seniors. www.brownpapertickets.com/event/46976.

Nov. 21-22, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 23, 6 p.m., 2008

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