Compiled by Jessica Koslow
SOMAFest @ Highways Performance Space
Expect feelings to be flowing at this celebration of movement that focuses on internal experience over external appearance. It’s a two-hour showcase that doubles as emotional catharsis. Dance as therapy. Dance as savior. Dance as uplifter, with film, voice, live music and choreography more heartfelt than heavy on technique. All the emotional goodness of dance is in there.
1651 18th St., Santa Monica. $20-$25. (310) 453-1755; highwaysperformance.org
Invertigo Dance Theatre @ The Broad Stage
Not many dance companies would tackle the life of math genius Alan Turing, who helped break Nazi coded messages during WWII. But Laura Karlin— Invertigo Dance Theatre’s artistic director — is bold and adventurous with choreography and content (think bobbing for apples but from another dancer’s mouth). Her company’s “Formulae & Fairy Tales” highlights more than beautiful bodies bounding across the stage — it makes a point: Turing was persecuted and, ultimately, died for being gay.
1310 11th St., Santa Monica. $49-$79. (310) 434-3200; thebroadstage.org
Body Traffic @ The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
Sept. 26 – 28
L.A.-based BodyTraffic is playful, precise and has been chosen as The Wallis’ 2019/2020 Company-in-Residence. The contemporary dance company will perform three premiers: “(d)elusive minds” by Nederlands Dans Theater 2’s Fernando Hernando Magadan, “Resolve” by L.A. choreographic duo Wewolf and “Snap” by on-the-rise choreographer Micaela Taylor, who recently won a New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project grant.
9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. $39-$99. (310) 746-4000; thewallis.org
Paola Escobar @ Annenberg Community Beach House
Oct. 4 – 6
As the Annenberg Community Beach House 2019 Choreographer-in-Residence, Paola Escobar spent some time wandering around the Beach House, asking visitors for their input for her final piece, and collecting suggestions about costume color, music styles, themes, etc. In October, the Colombian artist will share her residency project “Darning & Patching without a Nail,” which revolves around nomadism, migration, homelessness and belonging — for free.
415 Pacific Coast Hwy, Santa Monica. Free. (310) 458-4904; santamonica.gov/arts/beach-culture
Sankai Juku @ UCLA’s Royce Hall
When you witness a Sankai Juku performance, you’re watching a meditative visual poem unfold. This all-male, Tokyo-based company allows you to enter their world of Butoh, a unique style of movement, expression and pacing. The best dance makes you think: about what? That’s up to you. Ushio Amagatsu’s deeply moving work “Meguri: Teeming Sea, Tranquil Land” offers the springboard for you to jump off into deep thought.
340 Royce Drive, Westwood. $39-$93. (310) 825-2101; cap.ucla.edu
fabe Dance @ Highways Performance Space
Much of fabe Dance’s experimental contemporary choreography is based in everyday movement, which makes watching it so fun and freeing. It’s relatable and connects with emotions or experiences you may have had (or are having). Their “Drugs Can’t Buy” was performed at the Los Angeles Dance Festival in April, and according to one review, is an intense work alive with constant movement, making the intimate Highways Performance Space the perfect venue to feel the action up close.
1651 18th St., Santa Monica. $15-$25. (310) 453-1755; highwaysperformance.org
Wendy Whelan @ UCLA’s Royce Hall
Oct. 18 & 19
Legendary New York City Ballet alumna Wendy Whelan may have officially “retired” from ballet in 2014, but that hasn’t stopped her from leading her alma mater into a new era as its associate artistic director or dipping her long toes into bold and experimental collaborations. For “The Day,” she combines forces with “rock star” cellist Maya Beiser, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang and revered modern dance choreographer Lucinda Childs to explore the mundane and mortal passages of time — and their impact on the human soul.
340 Royce Drive, Westwood. $39-$99. (310) 825-2101; cap.ucla.edu
Gravity & Other Myths @ The Broad Stage
It’s marvelous news for movement lovers that troupes like The 7 Fingers and Cirque Éloize tour the world with their eye-popping and playful brands of contemporary circus. While many of these groups hail from Canada, Gravity & Other Myths is based in Australia — and they’re flying into town with their award-winning, interactive work “Backbone.” This is one of those, “I can’t believe a human can actually do that!” performances, where strength, agility and pure fun are rolled into one amazing show.
1310 11th St., Santa Monica. $59-$79. (310) 434-3200; thebroadstage.org
Michael Keegan-Dolan/Teaċ Daṁsa @ UCLA’s Royce Hall
It’s an incredibly courageous act to take a classic — like “Swan Lake” — and put your own contemporary spin on it. Irish dance and theatre-maker Michael Keegan-Dolan adapts the dramatic ballet into a dark comedy unfolding in a modern-day small town in Ireland. This version called “Loch na hEala (Swan Lake)” features a new score, created by Dublin-based band Slow Moving Clouds. It’s wild. It’s funny. You’ll sit up in your seat as feathers fly and plastic wrap sometimes obscures your view of the dancers, and maybe even wish you had on a rainbow party hat, too.
340 Royce Drive, Westwood. $29-$59. (310) 825-2101; cap.ucla.edu