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: SF Ballet’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’

I have been a San Francisco Ballet fan since the early 1980s, when Michael Smuin ran the company. I was living in the city and had a ballet subscription. They have only gotten better since then, growing into one of this country’s most distinguished classical companies. Sadly, they infrequently come south to perform here. We’re …

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Not a review: Thoughts on Miami City Ballet & George Balanchine’s ‘Nutcracker’

The Music Center last week presented “The Nutcracker” for the first time in five years. The two-act ballet premiered in Russia in 1892, but, as we all know, it ended up becoming a holiday obsession here in the U.S. instead. (Read Jennifer Fisher’s excellent book “Nutcracker Nation” to find out how that happened.) Rachel Moore, …

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