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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Missing Bella

At age 81, Los Angeles’ modern dance pioneer Bella Lewitzky closed down her dance company. That was 22 years ago and her works have been revived only sporadically since then. A good portion of her repertory is in danger of being gone for good, which would be a terrible outcome. A few people, happily, have …

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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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