Spring dance preview: Ballet Preljocaj, Savion Glover
The dance season picks up steam with some tantalizing "firsts": Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève makes its debut appearance and introduces Los Angeles to works by Benjamin Millepied of "Black Swan" fame, who is artistic director at L.A. Dance Project. In addition, American Ballet Theatre premieres a new production of "The Firebird" by one of the world's most exciting choreographers, Alexei Ratmansky.
Here's a look ahead at these and other notable dance engagements this spring:
French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj answers to an eclectic -- some might even say fickle -- muse. Since establishing Ballet Preljocaj in 1984, he has given audiences a dystopian “Romeo and Juliet” on the one hand, and an abstract “Helikopter,” with Karlheinz Stockhausen’s noisy quartet for helicopters as a score, on the other hand. The company’s upcoming Los Angeles performances highlight a well-known story in “Snow White” (2008). But this being Preljocaj, and with costumes by Jean Paul Gaultier and a score culled from Mahler, don’t expect Disney. (For ages 12 and older.)
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. 7:30 p.m. March 23-24, 2 p.m. March 25. $28-$110. www.musiccenter.org
The boy wonder of Broadway’s “The Tap Dance Kid” and “Black and Blue” has matured into Savion the inscrutable artist, often dancing with head bowed. His unquenchable thirst to explore tap dancing as percussive sound goes on. In “Bare Soundz,” he explores flamenco rhythms. Glover is always mindful of tap dancing’s roots and the hoofers who came before him, and he pays tribute in this show to the late Gregory Hines.
Valley Performing Arts Center, California State University, Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. 8 p.m. March 24. $25-$70. www.valleyperformingartscenter.org
Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky returns to his Russian roots with a new production of a landmark ballet, “The Firebird,” utilizing Igor Stravinsky’s complete (and first) ballet score. Barring last-minute changes, Russian superstar Natalia Osipova is cast as the magical bird for opening night, while up-and-comers Isabella Boylston and Los Angeles’ Misty Copeland are scheduled for other performances. David Hallberg, who now splits his time with the Bolshoi, is also scheduled to appear, as Kostchei, traditionally the monster. The program also includes Merce Cunningham’s “Duets” and Christopher Wheeldon’s “Thirteen Diversions.”
Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. 7:30 p.m. March 29-31, 2 p.m. March 31-April 1. $16-$115. www.scfta.org
Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève
This chamber-sized company of 22 dancers traces its modern history from the early 1960s and it has flip-flopped through nine artistic directors since then. But under current director Philippe Cohen the troupe has found stability and won praise. For its West Coast premiere, Ballet Genève presents "Amoveo," plus new productions of “Les Sylphides” and “Spectre de la Rose,” all by Benjamin Millepied, whose much-anticipated new collaboration with the Music Center, L.A. Dance Project, premieres in September.
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. 7:30 p.m. April 13-14, 2 p.m. April 15. $34-$125. www.musiccenter.org
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet
Founded nine years ago by Wal-Mart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet has developed a following with a repertory of hip, new works, and European-based choreographers favored. The group returns to the UCLA Live lineup with two different programs and choreography from Holland’s Regina van Berkel , Canadian Crystal Pite, Sweden’s Alexander Ekman and Israeli Hofesh Shechter (whose “Political Mother” was a hit at Royce Hall earlier this season).
Royce Hall at UCLA, 340 Royce Drive, Los Angeles. 8 p.m. April 27-28. $20 to $60. www.uclalive.org
-- Laura Bleiberg
Photo: Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève performs “Les Sylphides" with choreography by Benjamin Millepied. Credit: GTG/Vincent Lepresle