When Zorba's more formally educated boss despairs at the hardscrabble reality of death and living, Nikos Kazantzakis' wily wiseman starts to dance, advising that in the face of overwhelming emotion, when words are inadequate, the only thing to do is dance. Choreographers Paula Present and Marie Bergenholtz don't directly draw on Zorba in Eating Rocks for Hunger, but they share the underlying sentiment about the power of dance in the face of devastating circumstances. In preparing for this premiere, Present and Bergenholtz turned to contemporary examples that include an Iraqi ballet school continuing to nurture young dancers amid the ongoing war, and a cancer patient confronting her disease by dancing through the hospital corridors. This dancework also involves contributions from composers Hanna Levy and Ariel A. Blumenthal, as well as Madeline Leavitt, artistic director of Voices Carry Inc. As the country and the globe suffer the consequences of greedy minds left unsupervised, dance won't replace unemployment benefits, but Eating Rocks for Hunger is a reminder of the power of dance to heal, or at least aid survival until better times.

Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: April 17. Continues through April 25, 2009

LA Weekly