Music Center Offbeat: Performances Go Alfresco

The buzzed-about "Moves After Dark" leaps around the downtown arts space.

It's not all that unusual, or even remarkable, to spy a theater or opera or ballet attendee engaging in a few twirls at intermission in the middle of The Music Center Plaza.

After all, the spirit of the performance can capture an audience member's heart, and some impromptu dancing outside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion or Walt Disney Concert Hall charmingly ensues.

But seeing the actual, made-for-the-stage performances leave the building and head out into the open air is rather more surprising, and not a sight often seen at downtown's main hub for all things cultural.

"Moves After Dark" takes dance and drama out of the stately structures surrounding the fountain at the Music Center Plaza and sets the performance, and performers, free, free to run around the lampposts and exterior steps and concrete stretches.

As for we audience members? We follow the dancers to four different sites around the area to watch four different Southern California troupes engage in works both modern and marvelous.

So, no: There is no plush chair here, nor sedentary sitting down for you, nor scooting down the aisle at intermission, or even a roof above. You'll be walking outside and pausing and observing and standing and sipping a beverage, which is part of the twenty five dollar ticket.

All while you admire the leaps and pirouettes and poses and flow and technique of Ana María Alvarez, ATE9, BODYTRAFFIC, and the Lula Washington Dance Theatre. Each troupe performs throughout the evening, as "rotating groups" of audience members proceed to the next stop-and-watch site.

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Then, the big finish: All four companies join together at the close of the two-hour evening for a final presentation.

Dates? Monday, July 20 and Tuesday, July 21, which, coincidentally, come just days ahead of National Dance Day, on July 25, when bunches of everyone will be grooving it up in that very location, whether they are a professional dancer or not.

The thesis, then, is that dance doesn't simply belong indoors, in lofty buildings, at least not where The Music Center is concerned. Turns out the exteriors of those buildings make rather nice backdrops for performances, too.

You've noticed that as well? That Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the long view of Grand Park and City Hall are pretty spectacular? Truly, this stunning slice of downtown is backdrop-worthy, so dance on, outdoors-frolicking dancers.

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