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Arts and Entertainment

A New, Cutting-Edge Dance Festival Is Coming To Town

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There's a new, adventurous dance festival coming to town over the next few weeks.

On its dance card, Show Box LA makes space for four local cutting edge artists: Jennie MaryTai Liu, Nick + James, Hanna van der Kolk and Meg Wolfe. The festival's third week is stacked with theater events co-produced by Los Angeles Performance Practice and Live Arts Exchange/LAX. Overlapping with the bi-annual international theater festival, RADAR LA, going on at REDCAT and other sites all over town, the two festivals bring a slew of envelope-pushing performance to our City of Angels.

The carnival of riches begins this Thursday with a party at the Bootleg Theater curated by Nicole Disson, producer of THE SERIES at the Standard. The movement-based productions commence the following night, Friday 9/20, with performances by Ms. Wolfe and the dynamic dancing duo, Nick + James.

At somewhat uncommon start times (check out the calendar), the collection of shows reveals the depth, diversity and high quality of homemade dance, theater and performance.

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Nick + James, which is actually a man and a woman, are two exquisite risk-taking dancers with lots of New York credits and a spot in a recent REDCAT New Original Works Festival. Collaborating with musician Tara Jane ONeil, the trio presents "Tender Heart," where they "sew together ceaseless dancing with barely visible thread." Using a diverse assemblage of music ranging from Wagner to Dionne Warwick, the movers create "a ritualized practice of allowing divergent responses to over-the-top music."

As she's done several times in previous choreography and performance, REDCAT veteran Meg Wolfe joins musician/composer Aaron Drake in her new "Shannon does Cloudland." Though considered a solo dance, the lady brings to life her "hyper-erratic alter-ego Shannon," who is described as "action and noise, charged by scraps of dreams, and fueled by a ferocious impulse to feel it all." Publicity materials continue by saying, "Shannon walks the tightrope between expectation and devastation, in an atmosphere crackling with current."

In the days after the opening program of Wolfe/N+J, parties and more ritual inspire Hanna Van Der Kolk and colleagues Megan May Daalder, Justin Streichman, Jane Pickett, Jos McKain, Olive Noire and Blaine O'Neill to experiment with convention in "Here, Here." With potential audience involvement, marketing materials state that the goal of this mixture of dance, happening and living sculpture is to "disperse into multiple and paradoxical points rather than arrive at the fixed and singular outcome instigated by a single author."

Oooooh. This sounds both very democratic, yet wild and excitedly unruly!

Finally, Jennie MaryTai Liu unmasks her solo, "Story Dancer," and describes it in promotional materials as a powerful work that reveals her personal creative process. Working from a base of abstract movement, the piece divulges how expressive meaning can and does evolve in non-narrative ways.

These four dance makers are only the tip of the iceberg in this homegrown event, Check out the calendar and see what ignites your curiosity. Looks like everything is affordable and, between the L.A. artists at the Bootleg and the international visitors in the "other" performance series, there's something for everyone somewhere in LA.