Dance: Swing Town
Fall in Pasadena is filled with performances in nearly every dance genre
By Jana J. Monji 08/25/2011
The Pasadena area is a great place to dance — if you want televised proof, feel free to check the episode archives of the popular show “So You Think You Can Dance,” which has featured the rhythmic talents of Pasadena City College student Missy Morelli, Alhambra’s Alexander Fost and Whittier’s Clarice Ordaz, who dazzled audiences last season, or former Pasadena-resident Phillip Attmore from season 6.
But should you desire to set the muses free, don’t feel you must confine yourself to the small screen — there are several local destinations not only for dancers, but for those of us content to simply gaze upon the graceful art.
PCC has a strong flamenco dance program taught by professional dancer Clarita Corona, who also is the artistic director for the Alhambra-based Arte Flamenco Dance Theatre. Arte Flamenco will be offering workshops led by Broadway dancer/choreographer Amiya Burrell (“The Lion King”) and flamenco dance sensation Sergio Aranda (winner of the Concurso Fuentes dance competition) in September.
Participants may not make the cut for any national TV competitions, but what better way to meet people and keep off the calories while enjoying great music?
For those who need inspiration or would rather watch dancers than actually dance, Boston Court hosts Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre’s “Oh, Cosmonaut!” Nov. 4. This provocative dance performance uses film, electronics and live music to tell the tale of Valentina Tereshkova, the first female cosmonaut to travel to space in 1963.
On Nov. 18, Caltech will be hosting eight talented kids tapping their hearts out in stories about young love and life in “Tap Kids” at the Beckman Auditorium.
In December, the Joffrey Ballet performs its flawless adaptation of “Nutcracker” at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles.
You can also become part of the choreographing process. The Santa Monica-based Diavolo Dance Theater will be in residence at the Music Center from October of this year, and at open rehearsals, skateboarders and dancers will collaborate to create a piece about Southern California’s skateboard culture in the 1950s.
If you’re an old soul with a longing for the swinging dance moves of the1920s through 1950s, try your foot at swing dancing at the Lindygroove (Thursday nights) or the Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association every Saturday, where music is played by a live band. Each fall, PBDA has its annual “The Harvest Moon Swing Out” (Oct. 21-24) featuring guest swing instructors and special workshops for all levels in Lindy Hop, jitterbug, West Coast swing and Balboa. An interesting side note: The West Coast Swing is the official state dance of California.
Other great dance parties include the Lineage Dance benefit gala “Art in Motion” Sept.10, to be held inside a historic Altadena home, the Arte Flamenco Dance Theatre and the Center of World Dance’s annual Dia de los Muertos on Oct. 15 and the Social Daunce Irregulars Victorian Grand Ball at the Pasadena Masonic Hall Nov. 26.
Lineage Dance is the company behind the Pasadena Dance Festival, which brings together local and outside dance companies and celebrated its fourth anniversary in spring of this year. Admission to the gala is a bit pricey at $150 per person.
Dia de los Muertos (details to be announced) is likely to be a much more family-friendly celebration. Just think of it as part of your Halloween celebrations.
Go to the Victorian Grand Ball if you want to see people dressed in styles that span 64 years of fashion (1837-1901). You will be sure to spy women in antebellum hoop skirts or pegged skirts with bustles and men in tuxedoes with tails or in period uniforms. You may even get a chance to embody Scarlett O’Hara herself as you do the Virginia reel.
Find some romance and dance!
Arte Flamenco Dance Theatre and Center of World Dance
230 W. Main St., Alhambra
Sergio Arranda workshop.
Amyia Burrell (currently touring with Disney’s “The Lion King”) Intensive Jazz Workshop
A family-friendly festival for “Dia de los Muertos.”
70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena
The Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre presents “Oh Cosmonaut!”
Caltech Beckman Auditorium
332 S. Michigan Ave., Pasadena
“Tap Kids” hits the stage at Caltech. Eight talented tap dancers bring stories about teens preparing for their first dance, walking at graduation and dealing with young love and adulthood along the way.
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Music Center
135 N. Grand Ave., downtown Los Angeles
Scottish Ballet performs Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s “Song of the Earth.”
Joffrey Ballet performs “Nutcracker” with the LA Opera’s Orchestra.
89 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena
Benefit gala “Art in Motion” includes live music, gourmet food and tango lessons.
Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association At Grace Hall
73 N. Hill Ave., Pasadena (behind the church).
The Harvest Moon Swing Out
Social Daunce Irregulars at Pasadena Masonic Hall
200 S. Euclid Ave., Pasadena
Social Daunce Irregulars annual autumn Victoria Grand Ball.