Five Dance Events to See in L.A. This Week, Including a Kwanzaa Fest and a Viennese New Year
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This week's events offer a waltz or a samba to greet the new year, a Kwanzaa celebration, Russian jazz dance and the last Nutcracker until 2013.
5. Waltzing into the New Year
In Austria, the Neujahrskonzert is so much more than a New Year's concert. With a live audience braving the cold, an additional 1.3 million watch the annual broadcast that features the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna Opera Ballet performing in the ornate environs of one of Vienna's grand palaces dating from the Austro-Hungarian empire. Salute to Vienna exports these imperial elements to the contemporary swirls of Disney Hall with dancers from the National Ballet of Hungary joined by Hungarian ballroom dancers (after all, it was the Austro-Hungarian empire) backed by the Strauss Symphony of America led by Mika Eichenholz. The program includes operetta excerpts sung by soprano Anita Lukacs and tenor Zsolt Vadasz, plus lots and lots of Strauss waltzes and polkas for the dancers to kick up their heels. Catch a preview at www.salutetovienna.com/m3nu.php?list-602&page=125. It's Strauss mit schlagg, but the very best Viennese whipped cream at Walt Disney Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Sun., Jan. 30, 2:30 p.m.; $35-$115. www.ticketmaster.com.
4. Kwanzaa New Year
Simultaneously thoughtful and exuberant, Lula Washington Dance Theatre's annual Kwanzaa Celebration has become an L.A. holiday tradition. The shows often sell out so early, an advanced ticket purchase is advised. At the Lula Washington Dance Theatre, 3773 S. Crenshaw Blvd., mid-city; Fri.-Sat., Dec. 28-29, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 30, 3 p.m., $25; $20 Students and Seniors; $15 students 12 & under $15. 323-292-5852, www.lulawashington.org.
3. Samba into the New Year
Ring in the New Year with acts including Sambista Joany and dancers, Samba Da Mudança and the Samba School Los Angeles. Watch the performers then join the dancing with help from DJ Chris Brazil and Katia Moraes and her band. The traditional Brazilian buffet dinner is extra ($25 in advance, $35 at door). Attendees are encouraged to follow the tradition of wearing white for Brazilian New Year's at the Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach; Mon., Dec. 31, 8 p.m., $45-$65 in advance, $55-$75 at door., (562) 435-3511.
2. From Russia With Jazz
After he once competed as a Russian gymnast, a serious injury put Valery Tereshkin in the hospital for two years and redirected his career, first into choreography for other gymnasts, then into his own dance company and a jazz style Tereshkin calls "plastic theater." The 22-member Jazz Ballet of Valery Tereshkin arrives for two performances of Tereshkin's Territory of Jazz at the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Fri., Dec. 28, 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 30, 7 p.m., $35-$55. (818) 243-2539.
1. Last Nutcracker 'Til 2013
The most polished and professional of this season's productions of the Nutcracker comes from the Los Angeles Ballet, which offers its Nutcracker at the last of five venues throughout metropolitan L.A. The sell-out success of last spring's Swan Lake at new venues in Northridge and Long Beach led those theaters to join the existing venues in West L.A., Glendale and Redondo Beach for a total of five LAB home theaters, an expansion that continues the commitment of LAB artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary to bring great ballet to greater Los Angeles. Choreographed by Christensen and Neary, this full length Nutcracker is set in 1912 Los Angeles and was the calling card when LAB made its debut seven years ago. Over the intervening years, the production has been polished to a bright patina and the dancing talent deepened as LAB continues to prove itself to be the top-drawer professional resident ballet company which has eluded this city. In full disclosure, your scribe continues to volunteer to observe the ballet from a chimney onstage. This production also opens LAB's 2012-2013 season, which includes a festival of choreography by George Balanchine next spring and early summer. Very appropriate, since it was the televised production of Balanchine's Nutcracker in the 1950s that introduced America to the ballet and elevated the Nutcracker into a seasonal must-see. Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., Dec. 29, 1 & 5 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 30, 2 p.m., $21-$95, (310) 998-7782 or www.losangelesballet.org.