Photo courtesy Grand Park

Downtown Los Angeles’ new and revitalized 12-acre green space, Grand Park, has announced a day of free activities on Saturday Oct. 6 to celebrate the official Grand opening. These are the  dance-related events:

  • At 11 a.m., free social dance lessons on the Music Center Plaza (which is across the street from Grand Park);
  • At 4:30 p.m., dancers will reprise a performance of “A Fanfare for Grand Park,” choreographed by Diavolo’s artistic director Jacques Heim at the Grand Park Fountain Plaza. The piece includes music by composer David O and was first performed in July (photo above) at the park’s civic dedication;
  • At 7:45 p.m., a performance by the Bay Area aerial troupe, Bandaloop, which will use the vertical walls of LA City Hall as its dance “floor.” That’s one I’d like to see. Bandaloop put on impressive shows on the outdoor walls of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. This will be its first LA show.

Arts events will continue throughout the year. The Oakland-based AXIS Dance Company, which commissions new pieces for its dancers — some of whom have disabilities — will perform on Oct. 27 at noon and 2 p.m. For a detailed map of the park and  more information about the opening day events, click here for the  Grand Park’s website.

Russian firebrand Ivan Vasiliev has joined American Ballet Theatre as principal dancer, the company announced earlier this week. He is scheduled to perform during ABT’s spring 2013 season at the Metropolitan Opera House and on its national and international tours, according to a press statement. Here’s hoping that means he will be joining ABT at the Music Center July 11-14, 2013. Vasiliev, who is also a principal dancer with Mikhailovsky Ballet, brought sparks to the Segerstrom Center stage last October as a member of the Kings of the Dance program. His girlfriend-fiance Natalia Osipova is already on ABT’s roster as a principal dancer.

And, finally, news out of New York City that the Joyce Theater Foundation has purchased the building that houses the 472-seat, former movie theater at 175 Eighth Avenue. (Click on the link above to get to the full press release.)The Joyce, of course, is one of this country’s premiere dance theaters  This is great news for the Joyce, which opened in 1982, and for choreographer and director (Ballet Tech) Eliot Feld, who co-founded the Joyce with Cora Cahan. The Ballet Tech Foundation officially owned the building and had a long-term, $1-year lease with the Joyce to operate the theater. That lease was due to expire in 2016. The Joyce Theater Foundation is working now to raise money for a 1,000-seat theater to be constructed at the World Trade Center site. I mention this news because, first, you should go see a performance at the Joyce the next time you are in NYC, and two, because the Joyce is often cited as an example of the kind of dance theater that would be a great benefit to the dance companies in Southern California. What both foundations have built in 30 years, and the good it has brought, is a model worth emulating.

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