Thoughts on Raiford Rogers Modern Ballet

The annual — sometimes biannual — performance by Raiford Rogers Modern Ballet has come to feel like a special L.A. summer tradition, akin to s’mores around a beach fire pit or music at the Hollywood Bowl amphitheater. This year, that single performance at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex at Cal State L.A. (thank you, Wendy …

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Review: Barak Ballet New Repertory

The opening tableaux of “Pretty, Peculiar Things” is an announcement that Melissa Barak has good things in store. Unexpected things, like the backward toss of a ballerina. Subtle humor. And a lively stage atmosphere overflowing with a deep kinetic intelligence of what movement can express. Barak keeps it fresh. She’s a dance-maker’s dance-maker. Here’s the …

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Review: ‘Pepperland’ & Raymonda, etc.

Mark Morris — that most-musical choreographer and sometimes-conductor, who was the 2013 director of the Ojai Music Festival — has shown little interest in setting his dances to rock ’n’ roll or other popular music. So “Pepperland,” seen this weekend at the Segerstrom Center, is an outlier. The piece was a commission, made for the …

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Review: Misty, Calvin & ABT’s ‘Harlequinade’

“Les millions d’Arléquin” was a fluff-ball of a ballet, popular with audiences from its debut in 1900 until its last performance in 1929. It had a goofy comedic story, a lovely score by Italian composer Riccardo Drigo and unvarnished yet gracious choreography from the French-Russian ballet master, Marius Petipa. Now, American Ballet Theatre has staged …

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Review: Backhausdance New Works

The Orange County contemporary dance company Backhausdance celebrates its 15th anniversary this year and artistic director Jenny Backhaus is taking a bit of a break from creating the bulk of the group’s repertory. This strikes me more as an evolutionary development than a major sea change. I’ve been watching the company’s development almost from its …

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