Spring arts preview: Performance and dance
The Samoan-born, New Zealand-based choreographer and theater artist pays homage to Shakespeare and explores more contemporary ideas about personal freedom and political tyranny in his multimedia “TEMPEST: Without a Body.” Performed by Ponifasio's company MAU, the production, making its U.S. premiere at the historical Million Dollar Theater in downtown L.A. in collaboration with REDCAT, offers a potent and provocative blend of dance, theater and Polynesian ritual.
REDCAT at Million Dollar Theater, 307 S. Broadway, L.A. 8:30 p.m. April 2, 7 p.m. April 3. $30.
This has proved to be a great year for choreographer Barak Marshall, a native Angeleno of Israeli-Yemenite heritage who once served as the in-house choreographer for Israel's Batsheva Dance Company. In January, he won the $10,000 prize in the Joyce Theater Foundation's Los Angeles version of the A.W.A.R.D. Show!, a program where the audience vote helps fund new choreographic works. And now he's embarking on a North American tour of “Monger,” which will be presented at UCLA Live's Royce Hall. The dance-theater work, through hyper-physical movement, tells of a group of servants trapped in the house of an abusive mistress.
Royce Hall at UCLA, 340 Royce Drive, L.A. 8 p.m. April 15, 9 p.m. April 16. $28 to $48. www.uclalive.org
Cirque du Soleil's ‘Quidam'
One of Cirque du Soleil's darker, more poignant productions, “Quidam” has traveled the world since its Montreal premiere in 1996. Those who missed its 2006 appearance in Long Beach have another chance to see this signature show, which tells of Zoe, a little girl neglected by her parents who copes by delving into her own imaginary world. Cirque's globally successful formula of coupling a loose narrative structure with spectacular acrobatic acts is on full display in “Quidam,” where jump-ropes, swings, hoops and other children's toys become transformed into gravity-defying spectacles in the hands of acrobats, dancers and contortionists.
Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. 7:30 p.m. April 20 and 21, 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. April 22 and 23, 1 and 5 p.m. April 24. $40 to $120. www.cirquedusoleil.com/quidam
Mark Morris Dance Group
Often described as a choreographer devoted to musicality, Mark Morris can now take credit for a first-time collaboration between the Music Center and L.A. Opera when his “L' Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato” takes the stage at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in celebration of his New York City-based company's 30th anniversary. Set to Handel's music and John Milton's poetry, the famous 1988 work will include 24 dancers, the L.A. Opera Orchestra, a quartet of opera singers and a scenic design inspired by William Blake's watercolors.
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. 7:30 p.m. May 5-7, 2 p.m. Sunday, May 8. $30 to $120. www.musiccenter.org
Royal Danish Ballet
Founded in the 18th century and profoundly shaped by French Ballet master August Bournonville, this ballet company renowned for its rigorously precise footwork will be making a Southern California appearance for the first time in 15 years. Equally devoted to preserving Bournonville's legacy and showcasing works by contemporary choreographers, the company will give audiences a taste of both goals. Program 1 includes U.S. premieres of works by Nordic choreographers such as the Finnish-born Jorma Elo, while Program 2 features a new production of Bournonville's comic ballet “Napoli.”
Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. 7:30 p.m. May 24-27, 2 and 7:30 p.m. May 28, 2 p.m. May 29. $17 and up. www.scfta.org
Out of town
Danza Contemporanea de Cuba
American audiences will have the unprecedented opportunity to see this esteemed Cuban dance troupe when it travels to the United States for the first time in a series of East Coast performances, including a two-week run at the Joyce Theater in New York. Established in 1959, this company has achieved international fame for its virtuosic fusions of Afro-Caribbean dance forms with classical ballet. And during its US tour, it will present works by the Swedish choreographer Mats Ek, Spanish choreographer Rafael Bonachela and Pedro Ruiz, a Cuban American and former dancer with Ballet Hispanico.
Joyce Theater, 175 8th Ave., New York. 7:30 p.m. May 10-11 and 17-18, 8 p.m. May 12-13 and 19-20, 2 and 8 p.m. May 14 and 21, 2 and 7:30 p.m. May 15 and 22. $19-$75. www.joyce.org
-- Susan Josephs
Photo: “TEMPEST: Without a Body.” Credit: Lemi Ponifasio