Los Angeles

A Given Light

As part of its “Flower of the Season,” currently in its 14th year, Body Weather Laboratory (a forum for investigating kinesthetic and movement research that was initiated in 1988 by dancer/farmer and improvisateur, Min Tanaka), presented a new work by Oguri, the Japan-born Butoh dancer who leads BWL in Venice, and, to be blunt, never fails to astonish.

Blow Up

Waterbeds may have been a 70’s fad, but what about inflatable furniture? For a mere $74.95 (with free shipping, who knew?), Amazon offers the sofa of your dreams, one designed with a “waterproof-flocked top surface and a vinyl bottom that provides an incredibly comfortable sitting surface for any occasion.” For Lionel Popkin, a former Trisha Brown dancer and a choreographer who has mined his Hindu/Jewish roots, memorialized Ruth St. Denis and sautéed onions and curried zucchini in a range of works that satisfied, amused and, if not necessarily provoked, left indelible imagery nonetheless.

Pivotal: Jonah Bokaer

The last time New York-based dancer/choreographer/media artist Jonah Bokaer performed in Los Angeles, it was with Merce Cunningham Dance Company, more than 10 years ago. Indeed, the multi-hyphenate was 18 when he had the distinction of being the youngest dancer ever to join the iconic troupe in 2000, staying until 2007.

Hear them Roar

What is it about a girl in stilettos—those near lethal heels generally designed by men: think Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin—that make a woman feel both seriously sexy and über-vulnerable at the same time? In her, “Girl Gods” (we prefer the term ‘Goddesses’), a dance three years in the making and a Los Angeles premiere, choreographer Pat Graney ventures into the terrain of feminine tropes with mordant wit, alarming candor and reservoirs of rage.

L.A. Tarantella

A Russian, a Dane and a Canadian—all choreographers—may never have walked into a bar together, but their works made for a magnificently diverse program presented by Los Angeles Ballet to kick off the troupe’s 11th season. The three dancemakers, George Balanchine, August Bournonville and Aszure Barton, represent three distinct styles, and showcased the company’s commitment to preservation as well as being cleverly hip in the moment.

The Good WIFE

Crawling with hipsters, scenesters and lipstick lesbians, the funky warehouse in L.A.’s up-and-coming neighborhood, Frogtown, recently served as a performance space for WIFE’s apocryphal “Enter The Cave.” The hometown female trio—Jasmine Albuquerque, Kristen Leahy and Nina McNeely—had presented the first act of “Cave” at the Hammer Museum last June to what can only be called adoring throngs.

In the Wild Loop

Living up to its post-postmodern moniker, DIAVOLO | Architecture in Motion™ not only rocked its 14-by-17 foot undulating boat in the troupe’s 1999 classic work, “Trajectoire,” but shook the rafters of the Broad Stage in four sold-out performances over the first weekend of autumn. Founded and directed by Paris-born Jacques Heim in 1992, the Los Angeles-based company kicked off its 25th anniversary season in fine style.

New, Hot, NOW

“Hot time, summer in the city, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.” Here’s to the steamy summer solstice in L.A., and although there was no sign of the Lovin Spoonful at REDCAT’s three-week annual NOW festival (nine premieres by some of the city’s foremost dance, theater, music and multimedia artists), there was decidedly some heat on stage—not all of which was fabulous, however—during the festival’s second week.

Firebird

Some things are eternal, such as the music of Stravinsky, Shostakovich, and Bernstein. Alexei Ratmansky, one of the world’s greatest living choreographers, has made mostly astute and fascinating use of works by these composers in a program that also showed off the formidable talents of dancers from American Ballet Theatre as the troupe, in full-throttle dazzle mode, charmed Los Angeles audiences last weekend.