Last year, artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary staked their company's claim as L.A.'s premier professional ballet company with home theaters at UCLA and in Glendale and Redondo Beach, a world-premiere Nutcracker production, and two repertoire programs that confirmed the polished and energetic ensemble's command of August Bournonville's 19th-century classics and George Balanchine's 20th-century masterpieces. Building on the success of its inaugural season, LAB launches a spring repertoire series that shows the company handling more contemporary challenges with a world premiere from former New York City Ballet dancer and award-winning choreographer Melissa Barak mixed in with a trio of Balanchine's best: the romantic and flirty Who Cares? set to Gershwin melodies; the high-octane pas de deux Tarantella; and the breathtaking Four Temperaments, set to Hindemith's phenomenal music. And there are three chances — at three venues over three weekends — to see what these exciting young dancers can do. Freud Playhouse, UCLA, Wstwd.; Fri.-Sat., Feb. 22-23, 7:30 p.m. Also at Alex Theater, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., March 1, 7:30 p.m. And at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd.; Sat., March 15, 7:30 p.m.; $30-$95. (310) 998-7782 or
Fri., Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m., 2008

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