The Segerstrom Center for the Arts usually hosts international ballet and modern dance companies, but it takes a more populist approach with its debut Off Center Festival, which features premieres from three Southland choreographers. The nine-day fest includes contemporary theater, music, comedy and an intriguing dance event that boasts a large concept and a small stage. Ten Tiny Dances involves choreography specifically created for the confined space of a 4-foot-by-4-foot stage. Local choreographers tackling the challenge include Jennifer Backhaus, whose work includes her company Backhausdance as well as commissions from Los Angeles Ballet; Melanie Rios, who leads highly praised educational/performance group the Wooden Floor; and Meg Wolfe, known for her solo work as well as founder of the long-running Anatomy Riot salon. Ironically, Anatomy Riot is having its swan song show this same weekend after six-plus years and 250 performances. For a preview of Ten Tiny Dances and the full lineup of Off Center Festival events, go to Samueli Theater, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa; Fri.-Sat., Jan. 20-21, 7:30 p.m., $20. (714) 556-2787,

Fri., Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m., 2012

LA Weekly