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Fall arts picks: Dance and performance

September 16, 2011 |  8:55 am


This fall's lineup of dance and performance events covers the waterfront, from big-budget spectacles (think Cirque du Soleil's “Iris”) to world-class ballet companies (imports from San Francisco and Europe) to Broadway must-sees (“Come Fly Away,” Stephen Sondheim).

To see it all would keep you on your feet for most of the season. It would also drain your bank account, considering the prices that some shows are charging for tickets. (Think Cirque, again.) Thankfully, there is one free event (Diavolo Dance Theater at the Music Center) as well as numerous opportunities for students to buy discount tickets.

Here is a selective list of Southern California's season's biggest dance and performance events, plus a nod to some major out-of-town productions.

Cirque du Soleil's “Iris,” Sept. 25, open run
In case you haven't noticed all of the ads plastered around town, “Iris,” the newest mega-production from Cirque du Soleil, will officially open this month at the Kodak. (It has been in previews since July.) Will the show — with a $100-million-plus price tag — stick its landing, or will it stumble?
Kodak Theatre, Hollywood. $43-$253. (877) 943-4747

San Francisco Ballet, Sept. 27 to Oct. 2
The oldest professional ballet company in the U.S. returns to Orange County with a program that includes Helgi Tómasson's “Romeo & Juliet” as well as works by George Balanchine and Wayne McGregor.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa. $17-$100. (714) 556-2787

Scottish Ballet, Oct. 14-16
The Scottish Ballet will make its L.A. debut in a program including Sir Kenneth MacMillan's “Song of the Earth” and a North American premiere by Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo.
Music Center, downtown L.A. $28-$110. (213) 972-0711

Audra McDonald (Oct. 15), Stephen Sondheim (Oct. 29)
In August, Sondheim openly criticized McDonald and others associated with the new revisionist revival of “Porgy and Bess.” By coincidence, both are coming to Orange County this fall, appearing in separate shows. McDonald will perform cabaret, while the reliably irascible Sondheim will speak about his career, appearing along with colleagues who will perform some of his work.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa. $25-$99. (714) 556-2787

NYCB Moves, Oct. 22
The new touring branch of the New York City Ballet will alight in Northridge for a performance that will feature pieces from the company's repertory. The troupe includes select dancers and musicians from the New York company.
Valley Performing Arts Center, Northridge. $40-$100. (818) 677-3000

Come Fly Away,” Oct. 25 to Nov. 6
Choreographer Twyla Tharp's ode to Frank Sinatra makes its local debut in this touring production of the Broadway crowd-pleaser. (It returns in January for an Orange County run.) Two couples dance the night away to the vocals of Old Blue Eyes, with a soundtrack that includes many chestnuts.
Pantages Theatre, Hollywood. $22-$92. (800) 982-2787

Diavolo Dance Theater, October TBD.
The L.A.-based modern dance group will delve into the world of skateboard culture with this free series of outdoor workshops held as part of the region-wide Pacific Standard Time. Spectators will be encouraged to give feedback.
Music Center, downtown L.A. Free. (213) 972-0711

Trisha Brown Dance, Nov. 16
The New York dance company will perform a diverse selection from its repertory, including recent and older works featuring members of its troupe.
Valley Performing Arts Center, Northridge. $25-$85. (818) 677-3000

Out of town:
Paul McCartney's “Ocean's Kingdom” / New York City Ballet. Starts Sept. 22.
The former Beatle makes his first foray into the world of ballet with this new work choreographed by Peter Martins that is the talk of the New York dance season. The singer's daughter, fashion designer Stella McCartney, helped out with costumes.
Lincoln Center, New York. $29-$149. (212) 870-5570

Merce Cunningham Legacy Tour, Nov. 1
Cunningham, who died in 2009, specified that his company would embark on a final tour after his passing. The tour is wrapping up this fall and the final West Coast performance will be held at Stanford.
Memorial Auditorium, Stanford. $30-$85. (650) 725-2787

Pina Bausch's Tanztheater Wuppertal, Dec. 2 and 3
The German company will perform “Danzón,” a Cuban-influenced work choreographed by the late Bausch. This fall will also see the release of the 3-D documentary “Pina,” directed by Wim Wenders.
Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley. $30-$86. (510) 642-9988


Behind the scenes of Cirque du Soleil's 'Iris'

More fall arts picks from Times critics and writers

-- David Ng

Photo: A scene from Cirque du Soleil's "Iris" at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Credit: Mark Dulong / Cirque du Soleil