Adventures in Motion

Adventures in Motion

’Kiss Me Kate,’ Cirque Zuma Zuma and the Autumn Grand Ball fill out Pasadena’s fall dance lineup

By Jana J. Monji 09/04/2014

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From classical Russian ballerinas and exotic African dancers to show girls and Victorian ladies and gentlemen, this season’s local dance playbill is sure to leave audiences awed, inspired, delighted and a little better educated. 


Many have seen the French Canadian circus from Cirque du Soleil, but what about an African Cirque? Caltech’s Beckman Auditorium will be staging a one-night performance of Cirque Zuma Zuma on Oct. 18. Caltech is at 1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena. For tickets and information, email or call (626) 395-4652.


For those with a taste for show girls and Cole Porter tunes, get ready for Wayne Brady crossing paths with Shakespeare in “Kiss Me Kate” at the Pasadena Playhouse Sept. 16-Oct. 12, with Playhouse Artistic Director Sheldon Epps directing.


“I am looking forward to bringing a fresh eye to this great material and to conceiving our production in a way which will make this fantastic musical completely at home on the stage of the Playhouse,” said Epps.


The production is being choreographed by Jeffrey Polk, with Rahn Coleman serving as musical director.


The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Call (626) 356-7529, or visit


Love and sacrifice in the magical Middle East, as interpreted by the Russian Bolshoi Ballet, comes to movie screens in October at various theaters around Southern California in Fathom Events’ HD production of “The Legend of Love.”  Upcoming filmed productions include the Royal Ballet’s performance of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” on Dec. 16 and the Bolshoi Ballet’s presentation of “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 21.


For something live and local, Australian Ballet dancers at the Music Center will interpret Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” with a modern twist — by referencing England’s late Princess Diana — Oct. 9-12 at the Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The Ballet Boyz will bring attitude to the Music Center’s Ahmanson Theatre Nov. 7-9. Started by former Royal Ballet lead dancers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, who now serve as directors, this is UK ballet with a testosterone twist.


The Music Center is at 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown Los Angeles. Call (213) 972-7211 or visit


Those interested in First Amendment rights might find the Elevator Repair Service ensemble’s “Arguendo,” at REDCAT Nov. 5-9, provocatively enlightening: it’s a staged, verbatim depiction of Barnes v. Glen Theatre, the Supreme Court case over whether go-go dancers can perform nude. Modern dance lovers can enjoy the work of choreographer Sharon Eyal in collaboration with DJ/producer Gai Behar and L-E-V ensemble Nov. 20-23, and choreographer Rashuan Mitchell’s project with Magnetic Fields singer-songwriter Stephen Merritt and visual artist Maschke-Messing Dec. 4-7. 


REDCAT is located at 631 W. Second St., downtown LA. Call (213) 237-2800, or visit


For those with tastes from another time, there’s the Victorian Tea & Dance Society, with events throughout the season at the Pasadena Scottish Rite Hall. On Oct. 5, the Society hosts English Country Dances with dance teacher Judee Schumacher-Pronovost. On Nov. 2 it’s a Victorian tea social with dance teacher Tom Wilson, and the year ends with St. Nicholas Grand Tea Social on Dec. 14.


The Pasadena Scottish Rite Hall is located at 150 N. Madison Ave., Pasadena. Visit for more information.


Finally, there’s the social event of the season: the Social Daunce Irregulars annual Autumn Grand Ball on Nov. 29 at the Pasadena Masonic Hall, where, with a little practice, ball-goers can exercise their Victorian manners while dancing the Virginia reel. Walter Nelson, one of the Irregulars and a sometime dance instructor, explained: “We try to bring back that sense of elegance, of occasion, that is so lacking in the modern world. People still want to get dressed up, look great and have a special evening. That’s what we try to provide.”


Pasadena Masonic Hall is located at 200 S. Euclid Ave., Pasadena. Call (626) 795-5610, or visit 


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