Five Dance Events to See in L.A. This Week, Including Pirates Who Swashbuckle
Photo by Gene Schiavone American Ballet Theatre in Le Corsaire
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This week's dance events include two tenth anniversary performances and American Ballet Theatre's new production of Le Corsaire.
5. Can a pirate swashbuckle in toe shoes?
If Captain Jack Sparrow added pointe shoes to his flamboyant garb, he'd fit right in with American Ballet Theater's Le Corsaire. Filled with good pirates, evil pirates, avaricious slave traders, acquisitive pashas and beautiful slave girls in tutus and pointe shoes, this 19th century full-length ballet contains some of Marius Petipa's most gorgeous choreography. Rudolf Nureyev introduced himself and Le Corsaire to the West as the high flying, bare-chested slave partnering Margo Fonteyn in what is now ensconced as part of the pas de deux repertoire, but in its original form in the ballet is a pas de trois between the beautiful Melora and the pirate Conrad with the slave in service when Melora needs serious lifting. The change to a pas de deux, like the ballet's plot, is not receptive to deep thinking. ABT's more serious, thoughtful side was on view at Thursday’s opening, a mixed bill boasting George Balanchine's Apollo and Symphony in C plus Chamber Symphony from ABT's current resident choreographer Alexei Ratmansky. In contrast, Le Corsaire is best approached as a terpsichorean roller coaster ride as ABT turns its dancers loose in this swashbuckling extravaganza at the Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Thurs.-Sat., July 11-13, 7:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., July 13-14, 2 p.m., $34-$125. 213-972-0777, www.musiccenter.org.
4. Happy Tenth to Grandeza Mexicana
Marking its first decade, Grandeza Mexicana brings 40 dancers to the stage in Mexico: Mis Raices (My Roots), showcasing repertoire favorites from different regions of Mexico plus two new works: the Aztec-inspired Quinto Sol and Carnaval de Morelos, drawing on South Central Mexico's pre-colonial and Moorish traditions. At John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. E., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., July 12-13, $25-$65, $15 children. 323-461-3673, www.fordamphitheatre.org.
Photo courtesy of Soul Lab Dance Project
3. Soul Lab emerges from a Chrysalis
After graduating from UCLA's Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance in 2010, Marina Magalhes, Allison Gray, Lauren Gould, Sophia Stoller and Kristin Killacky founded Soul Lab Dance Project. They worked on solo projects (Magalhes won a 2013 L.A. Weekly Theater Award for her choreography for Patty: The Revival) but also continued to collaborate on an evening-length project. After three years' gestation, the aptly titled Chrysalis receives its premiere this weekend. At Bootleg Theater, 2200 Beverly Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., July 12-13, 7:30 p.m., $15, $12 students, Tickets at www.soullabdanceproject.com. 213-389-3856, bootlegtheater.org.
2. Dancers always need New Shoes
New Shoes 3, the third edition of this showcase for new and in-progress dance and physical theater draws on an array of literary references including Annabel Movement Ensemble's consideration of the world captured in Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina; Hanna Kovenock, Julia Marasa and Paige Tighe's riff on commodification connections between office workers and athletes; Deena Selenow, Paul Fraser and Genevieve Gearhart's musical mash-up of Sophocles' tragedy The Women of Trachis and the pop classic Cry Me a River; and Winter Dance Theater's reflections on The Diary of Anne Frank and those who live in hiding. At Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., July 12-13, 8:30 p.m., $15. 310-315-1459, www.highwaysperformance.org.
1. Taking the initiative
Photo by Dave Friedman Dancers Corinna Gill and Adam Hundt in Edward Liang's choreography for the National Choreography Initiative
Over the past 10 summers, Molly Lynch's National Choreography Initiative has been worth fighting the traffic to Irvine to see the often unfinished result of four choreographers working with a dozen or so dancers for three weeks. While several L.A. choreographers hire dancers on summer hiatus from top-notch ballet companies to showcase their own choreography, each summer Lynch teams the recruited dancers with a quartet of choreographers for an intensive workshop, with the choreographers charged to explore rather than work to produce a finished product. Of the dances created by 37 dancemakers over the past decade, 22 works begun at NCI have gone on to be performed by ballet companies across the country. But SoCal saw them first. Later in August, this year's quartet of choreographers will put their moves onstage, but for this anniversary year, excerpts from prior years' products are being reprised. At Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine; Sat., July 13, 8 p.m., $30-$60, $20 students. 949-854-4646, www.thebarclay.org.