Category Archives: Dance

Sisters in Step

twins“You guys are the cutest things on planet Earth,” gushed “So You Think You Can Dance” judge Vanessa Hudgens. “My heart is melting for you guys.”

“You guys are adorable,” added judge Mary Murphy. “I wish I could be your sister.”

For 25-year-old twins Gratsiela (Gracie) and Desislava (Desi) Sandeva of Dobrich, Bulgaria, being on “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 15 was a dream come true — from the day they applied for the hit show online to the moment they stepped on the stage to audition in front of a live audience and TV cameras in New York City.

“Our life has changed for sure — for good, of course,” says Gracie. “I think we are the same Desi and Gracie from before, we are just more confident in ourselves. There was also a few times that little kids on the streets recognized us from the show.”

Although they didn’t make the cut, Gracie and Desi are not giving up their dreams just yet. …

Read the full article at Playa Vista Direct.

Fall Arts Preview 2019: Dance


Photo courtesy of Sankai Juku

SOMAFest @ Highways Performance Space
Sept. 1

Expect feelings to be flowing at this celebration of movement that focuses on internal experience over external appearance. It’s a two-hour showcase that doubles as emotional catharsis. Dance as therapy. Dance as savior. Dance as uplifter, with film, voice, live music and choreography more heartfelt than heavy on technique. All the emotional goodness of dance is in there.
1651 18th St., Santa Monica. $20-$25. (310) 453-1755;

Invertigo Dance Theatre @ The Broad Stage
Sept. 13-14

Not many dance companies would tackle the life of math genius Alan Turing, who helped break Nazi coded messages during WWII. But Laura Karlin— Invertigo Dance Theatre’s artistic director — is bold and adventurous with choreography and content (think bobbing for apples but from another dancer’s mouth). Her company’s “Formulae & Fairy Tales” highlights more than beautiful bodies bounding across the stage — it makes a point: Turing was persecuted and, ultimately, died for being gay.
1310 11th St., Santa Monica. $49-$79. (310) 434-3200;

Read the full article at The Argonaut.

Roussève and grimes Reach for the Stardust at REDCAT


“Stardust” by David Roussève/REALITY. Photo by Valerie Oliveiro.

“Stardust” by David Roussève/REALITY. Photo by Valerie Oliveiro.

David Roussève is in a particularly good mood, sitting in his office in UCLA’s Glorya Kaufman Hall about 10 days before his latest work, Stardust, has its very first viewing at REDCAT as part of the Radar L.A. festival. Or maybe he always begins his sentences will a joyful burst of laughter.

The 53-year-old, Alpert Award-winning director-choreographer is speaking about d. Sabela grimes, who not only composed original music but also crafted an ongoing layer of sound design for the entire work. “He’s one of my favorite people on the planet,” Roussève says. “He’s so talented, and what a nice and incredibly evolved guy.”

“This is a really heady piece in its own way,” says Roussève. “I’m trying to conduct a social and intellectual conversation, but also it’s meant to communicate with you on the level of the heart. Sabela takes in both of those dialogues…It’s very hard to describe what he does. It’s so idiosyncratic and unique to him.”

Stardust is a coming-of-age story for the electronic age about a 16-year-old gay, African-American boy who, according to Roussève, “is trying to find something more than the violence and chaos he’s facing.” …

Read full article at LA Stage Times

Culture Shock LA and Versa-Style Bring Hip-Hop Dance to the Ford

Culture Shock Los Angeles. Photo by Ja Tecson.

Culture Shock Los Angeles. Photo by Ja Tecson.

“Are you ready for your solo?” Anthony Lee, artistic director of Culture Shock Los Angeles, asks a small boy this question, as he lifts him to the sky. The kid shakes his head enthusiastically as the two head toward the rest of the hip-hop dance collective gathered on the top floor of the South Bay Dance Center. Lee calls places for a final run-through of Roy Meets World, a one-off performance this Friday at Ford Theatres.

It’s not the only night hip-hop will hit the Ford stage this summer. On October 5, Versa-Style Dance Company will premiere Furious Beauty, its latest evening-length work. Ford Theatres continues to support LA’s growing hip-hop dance community, and troupes like Culture Shock L.A. and Versa-Style are leading the charge to bring street dance to the stage.

Featuring 65 dancers ages 5 to 35, mostly from Culture Shock L.A. with a few special guests, Roy Meets World takes cues from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist and the Hindu tradition of the seven chakras, or energy centers of the body. It’s an adventure story about a boy who encounters and overcomes challenges as he journeys through life and, ultimately, becomes a man.

The inspiration for this year’s Ford show (last June’s was titled BEauty) was personal. …

Read full article at LA Stage Times

Dance Bistro 2013: A Little Taste of Every Dance Style

Luminario Ballet. Photo by Nguyen Nguyen

Luminario Ballet. Photo by Nguyen Nguyen

The dancers of Luminario Ballet hang from aerial silk as they wrap their bodies around each other. Watson Dance troupe spills out into the aisles and interacts with the audience. LA Follies kick line taps to ’40s tunes. CONTRA-TIEMPO mixes salsa, Afro-Cuban, urban and contemporary styles.

These are just four of the 13 dance companies performing at the second annual Dance Bistro, a two-day festival coming to Carpenter Performing Arts Center at California State Long Beach this weekend.

Now in its second year, Dance Bistro has grown tremendously. Last year, it featured only six companies. This year, it accepted submissions online, received 60 and picked 13 participants. Two high schools, L.A.’s Renaissance Arts Academy and Cortines High School Dance Company, have been included, one performing each night. And Thursday and Friday at the Carpenter Center–as part of the festival’s Education Outreach program–1,800 students and teachers will be bused in to watch dress rehearsals, which will also be live streaming for free from 11AM to 1PM on Jackie Lopez, co-founder of Versa-Style Dance Company, will be the emcee and moderate the Q&A sessions with the artists after each run-through.

The two defining features of Dance Bistro 2013 are that it’s multigenre and accessible. …

Read full article at Long Beach Post

The Traces Team Ventures Into the Music Center

The ensemble of “Traces.” Photo by Michael Meseke.

The ensemble of “Traces.” Photo by Michael Meseke.

On Monday, 7 Fingers circus performer Bradley Henderson boarded a plane for Los Angeles for the Music Center debut of Traces, which opens Friday at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and runs through the weekend. Fresh off a three-week break from the US tour, he’s excited to re-unite with the cast as well as the show’s directors/choreographers, Shana Carroll and Gypsy Snider, who choreographed the circus scenes for the current Broadway revival of Pippin and have been busier than usual, preparing for its opening night Thursday.

Henderson and these two (out of seven) founding members of Les 7 doigts de la main (7 Fingers) go way back. They all met in San Francisco, where their individual passions for circus were piqued, and then headed to Montreal, the epicenter of modern-day circus.

In 2002, seven like-minded circus lovers in Montreal — Carroll, Snider, their husbands and three former circus colleagues — decided to form 7 Fingers. Its first production was Loft, and the company went on to create a string of wildly popular shows, which although different in setting offer the same 7 Fingers style of blending circus with dance and theater. Most important, the performers play themselves, without makeup and costumes, and each new added cast member brings his or her personality and talent to a production.

Now in its third incarnation, Traces fuses classic acrobatics with street culture activities such as skateboarding, basketball and parcour. …

Read full article at LA Stage Times

Trisha Brown Dance Company’s UCLA Retrospective

Performers in “Floor of the Forest.” Winarsh-Documenta, 2007.

Performers in “Floor of the Forest.” Winarsh-Documenta, 2007.

Diane Madden, one of the newly appointed associate artistic directors of Trisha Brown Dance Company (TBDC), has been walking around the Getty Center all day. She arrived from New York City the night before, and she’s scoping out the landscape where Trisha Brown’s Roof Piece will be performed this Saturday afternoon.

Roof Piece originated in 1971 atop buildings in a 10-block area of New York’s SoHo. Twelve dancers transmitted movement from dancer to dancer, roof to roof. This will be ne of only a few re-mountings of the piece and the first time it will be seen in LA.

Roof Piece is just one of the works presented this week as part of CAP (Center for the Art of Performance) UCLA’s Trisha Brown Dance Company: The Retrospective Project, which includes eight proscenium choreographies and several site-specific works from one of the most widely acclaimed choreographers in postmodern dance. During Brown’s five-decade-spanning career, she was the first woman choreographer to receive the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, in 1991. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2002 and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize in 2011.

Kristy Edmunds, artistic and executive director of CAP UCLA, planted the seed for the retrospective at the end of 2011.

“Kristy saw where we’re at, where Trisha’s work is at in history, what’s going on personally with the company,” says Madden. “She saw this was a moment to really do a very big, broad overview of the work. She’s right. She’s got good timing.”

“Trisha’s from the Pacific Northwest,” continues Madden. …

Read full article at LA Stage Times

Dancing With a Star: Benoit-Swan Pouffer of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet

Cedar Lake performs "Orbo Novo," choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. ©Julieta Cervantes

Cedar Lake performs “Orbo Novo,” choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. ©Julieta Cervantes

Two days before the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet performs, I am opposite Artistic Director Benoit-Swan Pouffer at l’Agora, cité internationale de la danse in the charming French city of Montpellier. We are sitting in a corner of the courtyard on a warm July afternoon, and Pouffer is visibly amped that his company is touring in Europe. The renovated 14th-century monastery is the headquarters for the 2012 Montpellier Danse festival, and its five studios and outdoor amphitheatre serve as venues for many of its performances.

Pouffer, who’s been dancing since age 6, is Parisian, but he has spent equal time (18 years) in New York. After studying at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse, he moved to the Big Apple to follow his dream of joining Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where he remained for seven years.

“It went so fast,” Pouffer says. “From Ailey, I took one day off and went to Cedar Lake as a resident choreographer. I stayed there for nine months. …

Read full article at Artillery Magazine

Huck Finn Meets Japanese Dancers and a Jazz Quartet

Wadada Leo Smith and Oguri in "Notaway: A Quest for Freedom." Photo by Roger Burns.

Wadada Leo Smith and Oguri in “Notaway: A Quest for Freedom.” Photo by Roger Burns.

March begins on Friday. Cue another round of the popular block party in Venice called First Fridays. This month, besides mingling in a stylish crowd and eating from a flurry of food trucks or high-end restuarants, jazz and dance fans may want to walk half a block east of Abbot Kinney Boulevard. At the solar-powered Electric Lodge, longtime collaborators dancer/choreographer Oguri and composer/trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith present the premiere of Notaway: Quest for Freedom.

Joining the duo for the weekend run are Japanese choreographer Yasunari Tamai and Smith’s Golden Quartet, featuring Anthony Davis on piano, John Lindberg on bass and Pheeroan akLaff on drums. Notaway: Quest for Freedom is part of the Flower of the Season 2013 series, produced by Arcane Collective and Body Weather Laboratory (BWL), a forum Oguri uses to teach contemporary movement known as Butoh, which utilizes the study of nature as source material for dance. BWL planted roots at Electric Lodge in 1997 and has continued to host workshops and productions there.

The Notaway cast has been consumed with rehearsals since Saturday. That was the first day the Japanese dancers heard Smith’s compositions. …

Read full article at LA Stage Times

Review: Arcosm Co. presents “Traverse” at Theatre Raymond Kabbaz

Arcosm Co. presented “Traverse” at Theatre Raymond Kabbaz on Feb. 1. / Photo courtesy of Arcosm

Arcosm Co. presented “Traverse” at Theatre Raymond Kabbaz on Feb. 1. / Photo courtesy of Arcosm

When the lights go up at Theatre Raymond Kabbaz for the French performance company Arcosm’s “Traverse,” lead Emilien Gobard is slumping in his recliner. He rises and repeats a seemingly uneventful daily routine again and again. He lives a ho-hum life, complacently lulled by its monotony. Yet his humdrum existence is the audience’s delight. His movements are graceful and precise; his body control impeccable. Gobard is a mime. Watching him do even the simplest acts is enjoyable. Surprisingly, there is also something amusing about the process of repetition when enacted poetically by a mime.

For the next hour, visitors pop in on Gobard unexpectedly: one beautiful woman who enters and exits, wrapped in a skin-tight dress, and two frenzied guys, who also come and go sporadically. They inject chaos into Gobard’s world, pushing him out of his comfort zone. It’s easy to lose yourself within Gobard’s disquieting journey, and feel the discomfort of the shove.

Read full article at Culture Spot LA