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Fall Arts Preview

Fall dance preview: A strong season of talent, from near and far

From the Nederlands Dans Theater to Russian ballerina Diana Vishneva to the debuts of Barak Ballet and the Annenberg Center in Beverly Hills, fall looks to be lively and rewarding.

September 12, 2013|By Laura Bleiberg
  • BodyTraffic, the L.A.-based troupe, has a few "firsts" in store for its October dates at the Broad.
BodyTraffic, the L.A.-based troupe, has a few "firsts" in store… (Christopher Duggan, BodyTraffic )

A dance season has tended to be defined by one or two international companies of hefty size that have the selling power equivalent of a blockbuster movie. As with the blockbuster, however, that model has morphed.

It has become prohibitively expensive and difficult to entice the elite, overseas classical companies — think the Paris Opera Ballet or England's Royal Ballet — to tour the West Coast. That said, we still have a strong contingent of impressive talent heading our way this fall, as presenters such as the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, the Music Center and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts entice audiences with respected A-list artists, including Australia's Lucy Guerin, the Nederlands Dans Theater 1 and Russian ballerina Diana Vishneva, respectively.

Still, smaller has become the watchword.

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But there is a notable prominence too, as this dance season kicks off homegrown artistry produced in collaboration with local presenters: BodyTraffic at the Broad Stage and David Roussève/Reality at REDCAT, to give just two examples. The Bootleg Theater and producer Miranda Wright are collaborating on a three-week alternative performing arts series, "Live Arts Exchange," that will give a platform to experimental choreographers, overlapping with the anticipated return of Radar L.A.'s international theater festival.

The new Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, with its 500-seat Goldsmith Theater, represents another opportunity, a smaller venue that this area has sorely needed. The Annenberg Center opens Nov. 8-9 with the New York-based Martha Graham Dance Company performing three classics, including the powerfully sorrowful "Lamentation," as well as a suite of excerpts intended to introduce audiences to the Graham legacy. Will this theater's directors be inclined to give local dancers a prominent place in their menu of offerings? We shall see.

Sept. 21

"Mara: The Mastermind Behind It All"

Commissioned by the Ford Amphitheatre, "Mara" is the creative brainchild of Los Angeles siblings on the leading edge of Indian classical arts: Mythili and Aditya Prakash. Mythili, a celebrated dancer in the Indian tradition of bharata natyam, was trained by her virtuoso mother, Viji. Mythili's brother is a vocalist, composer and head of the Aditya Prakash Ensemble, which combines ragas with jazz, hip-hop and funk. "Mara" is based loosely on the story of the demon that tried to distract Gautama Buddha from a spiritual life of enlightenment. This world premiere brings together a cast of 35, including members of the Shakti Dance Company, Aditya's ensemble and Mythili in leading roles.

The Ford Theatres, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd., East, $20-$50; (323) 461-3673,

Sept. 24-29

David Roussève/Reality

The fictional protagonist of Roussève's latest dance-theater piece, "Stardust," is, unusually, never actually seen. Instead, the presence of the gay African American teenager is felt through projected texts and tweets. Roussève, a professor at UCLA whose company performs infrequently in Los Angeles, collaborates on "Stardust" with local filmmaker Cari Ann Shim Sham, hip-hop fusion artist d. Sabela grimes and dramaturge Lucy Burns. Part of the Radar L.A. international theater festival.

REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., $15-$25; (213) 237-2800,

Oct. 11-12


Co-directed by Lillian Barbeito and Tina Berkett, this Los Angeles-based repertory dance company is coming off key engagements at Jacob's Pillow in Massachusetts and City Center's Fall for Dance Festival in New York. This concert also is significant for its "firsts": the first performance of "Kollide," made for BodyTraffic by New York-based Kyle Abraham. The first time a local theater has presented the group for two nights. Plus, the first chance to see "And at Midnight, the Green Bride Floated Through the Village Square…" by Los Angeles' Barak Marshall and featuring a cameo role for his mother, acclaimed dancer-choreographer Margalit Oved.

The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica, $32-$55; (310) 434-3200,

Oct. 16

Sydney Dance Company

Australia's leading contemporary dance company was defined by the 31-year reign of Graeme Murphy, its chief choreographer and a former member of the Australian Ballet. The company has moved into a new era with its current artistic director, Spaniard Rafael Bonachela, who spent most of his career with London's Rambert Dance Company. The Sydney dancers will perform Bonachela's "2 One Another," a 60-minute sensuous study of human interactions, which recently won several top prizes, including one for choreography, at Australia's dance awards.

Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine, $22.50-$45, (949) 854-4646,

Oct. 18-20

Nederlands Dans Theater 1

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