Jose Limon: America’s great immigrant choreographer

Dance
As the threat of erecting a barrier on our southern border looms, consider the saga of José Limón (1908-1972), a Mexican immigrant who after becoming a son of Los Angeles forged a distinguished forty-year career as one of the dance world’s most noble and magnetic figures. As a pioneering choreographer, Limón unflinchingly examined life’s thorniest ...

Gwen falls for Fred, but he does not fall back

Dance
From an interview with James Heneghan, son of the great Gwen Verdon … remembers James: “We were walking down the street in Beverly Hills, and I was walking next to my Mom. I was grown up.” “All of a sudden she fell off the curb and landed on the front of a car! “I said, ...

Dance double to Merle Oberon

Dance · Film
A revealing story captured in a comprehensive oral history conducted for the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, in 2003, with George and Ethel Martin, the two great Jack Cole dancers. Ethel kicks it off, with a small assist from her husband. Ethel: Jack [Cole] told me, ‘I know Kenny [Williams]’. He was ...

Ratmansky’s frothy ‘Whipped Cream’ casts @ Segerstrom

Dance
There are all kinds of considerations to weigh — and this is great fun for balletomanes — in selecting a ballet performance. The focus of this tough decision is the big world premiere at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County of Alexei Ratmansky’s new full-evening ballet, “Whipped Cream.” The superb Pacific Symphony will ...

REVIEW: Lionel Popkin’s ‘Inflatable Trio’ at the Skirball 1

Dance · Reviews
Do you feel that things are changing in ways that make you uneasy? That even our most familiar modes of operating—what political pundits refer to as “norms,” for example public civility—are in upheaval? Choreographer Lionel Popkin has made a dance about this. His charming and successful “Inflatable Trio,” a fun hour-long dance pageant for three, ...

Georgeous & Rita-licious

Dance · Fashion · Film
As Oscar Sunday approaches, we turn to the year when two beautiful young singer/dancers both won Academy Awards for West Side Story. George Chakiris and Rita Moreno, respective winners for Best Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role, appeared stunningly beautiful at the ceremony  April 9, 1962 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. This is ...

Choreographer Cherice Barton spreads happiness at VPAC

Dance
She’s part of a tribe of young dance makers who hop fluidly between entertainment hot-spots—Las Vegas, L.A.’s Staple Center, Broadway, and Hollywood. Clients include Katy Perry (at the Grammy Awards); George Lucas (in a Disney film); Spider-Man (vaulting above Broadway); and two darling daughters ages three and four. Relishing her return to the ballet world ...

Judy Garland’s admiration for Gwen Verdon’s husband

Dance
Recently researching dance history at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, I came across this nugget from Gwen Verdon. In an interview, Gwen recounted a story with droll wit, Judy Garland once said to me, “Oh your husband has done such a marvelous job!” And I said who??? Because I really did ...

Docu-worthy: Yvonne Rainer in ‘Feelings Are Facts’

Dance · Film
Oh jeez, in our nightmarish ‘new normal,’ an American existence in which mediocrity — so painful in a society in which political freedom enables the pursuit of excellence — rises to unimaginable levels; in which lies and blather pollute our air; in which values that can only be called contemptible predominate, into this setting enter ...

Review: No)one. Art House presented by Saint Heron

Dance
There was nowhere to park – zero spots – at Friday evening’s Immersive Dance Theater by No)One.Art House, an event sponsored by Saint Heron at an off-the-beaten track performance space in West Adams.   And yet, scores popped up in the residential neighborhood, dropped by Uber or carpool. Once inside purchasing cocktails, the attendees, mostly ...