Despite its name, the National Choreographers Initiative is not an effort to put choreography on the ballot but rather an annual adventure in expanding contemporary ballet in SoCal. Each summer, NCI director Molly Lynch invites four choreographers to spend three weeks working with a clutch of excellent dancers from major American and international ballet companies. The culminating one-night-only performance offers a peek at close-to-finished dances and an opportunity to become acquainted with the work of leading choreographers who are based primarily outside of metropolitan L.A. This year’s dancemakers are Amy Seiwart, who recently was elevated to resident choreographer for the late Michael Smuin’s company in San Francisco; Tulsa Ballet principal dancer Ma Cong, who also has won multiple choreographic prizes; North Carolina–based Emery LeCrone, another hyphenate dancer-choreographer; and Edmund Stripe, who combines choreographing with his duties as ballet master with Canada’s Alberta Ballet. After the show, stick around, as Lynch moderates a Q&A with the foursome: Their comments should be almost as provocative as their dances. To see related video clips on Dance Channel TV, go to and click on the dance pick. Irvine Barclay Theater, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine; Sat., July 26, 8 p.m.; $28. (949) 854-4646 or

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