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September 10, 2006

Garth Fagan Dance

To most theatergoers, Garth Fagan is likely to remain forever best known as the choreographer of "The Lion King." But the Jamaica-born Fagan, now in his mid-60s, has routinely been sending dancers' bodies flailing across stages -- but elegantly, with discipline -- since 1970, when he founded his own company in Rochester, N.Y. Back then, the troupe was called Bottom of the Bucket ... But Dance Theatre. Now it's Garth Fagan Dance. Its five-part program at Cerritos Center will include work from as far back as 1979 ("Oatka Trail," to Dvorak) and as recently as 2005 ("Life: Dark/Light," to jazz violinist Billy Bang).

Garth Fagan Dance, Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, Sept. 29. More at

Savion Glover

Tap dance phenom Savion Glover, above, has ventured further afield than perhaps anyone else from the lightweight music that helped define his art form. He's "hit," as he puts it, to John Coltrane, Miles Davis, even flamenco guitar. And audiences at the Irvine Barclay Theatre last fall screamed not with dismay but with sheer pleasure when he brought his most audacious concept to date to Southern California: "Classical Savion," in which, accompanied by a chamber ensemble, he took inspiration from Bach, Bartok, Vivaldi and other denizens of the concert hall. The only trouble was, he did it for only seven performances. Now Southlanders have two more chances to see it, at Royce Hall under the auspices of UCLA Live.

"Classical Savion," Royce Hall, UCLA, Oct. 4-5. More at

Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal

Since its founding in 1957, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens has steadily expanded its range: from traditional works such as "Giselle," to 20th century classics by George Balanchine, to works by contemporary Canadians such as Edouard Lock and James Kudelka, to the out-there imaginings of such European innovators as Jiri Kylian. In three performances as part of the Dance at the Music Center series, it will present an interpretation of Stravinsky's "Les Noces" (The Wedding) by Flemish dance maker Stijn Celis and "TooT" by Dutch choreographer Didy Veldman. The latter is said to boast humor as well as energy.

Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Oct. 6-7. More at

Kirov Ballet

It's been known variously as the Imperial Ballet, the Maryinsky Ballet and the Kirov Ballet (the latter after a prominent member of the Russian Revolution assassinated in 1934). But by whatever name, the St. Petersburg-based company has been linked inextricably with the history of ballet in its homeland -- you might almost say with ballet itself. Indeed, the "Swan Lake" that we think of today as the standard version, choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, premiered at the Kirov in 1895, and "Swan Lake" will be one of two lavish productions the company brings to the Orange County Performing Arts Festival as part of a three-week celebration of Russian opera, music and dance. The other will be Leonid Lavrovsky's 1940 "Romeo and Juliet." No casting has been announced for the major roles, but such is the stature of the Kirov -- widely regarded as the finest ballet troupe in the world -- that watching the corps in action should be bliss enough.

Kirov Ballet, Orange County Performing Arts Center, Oct. 17-22. More

Susan Marshall and Company

Susan Marshall combines postmodern structural savvy with an ability to tell stories and define emotional states all her own. In particular, she has a gift for heightening everyday movement so that it tells you everything you might ever want to know about the inner life of the person you're watching. "Cloudless," her new full-evening cavalcade, celebrates her company's 20th anniversary. Made up of 18 short pieces -- including narratives and comedic episodes -- it brings her mesmerizing contemporary style to the intimate Cerritos Center: a perfect fit for an artist the New York Times has called "one of the most significant choreographers today."

"Cloudless," Susan Marshall and Company, Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, Nov. 10. More at

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