Savion Glover. (Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, Jan. 29-Feb. 9). Lots of things have changed since 1996, but Savion Glover is still the great, unchallenged tap virtuoso of our time, and his Tony Award-winning "Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk" is still the great, unchallenged tap musical about African American solidarity. So what hotter ticket could there be than seeing Glover return to his show and perform it for the first time on any local stage? Thirteen performances at the Ahmanson and then it's history -- again.
Merce Cunningham. (UCLA Royce Hall, Westwood, Jan. 30-Feb. 1). Choreographer Merce Cunningham has spent 50 of his 83 years running a modern dance company that broke all the rules and, in the process, changed the way everyone thinks about the art. Expect no stories, no interpretations of music, no hand-me-down structural, spatial or design ideas. What's left? A whole new creative frontier, and to celebrate the Cunningham company's 50 years of exploration, UCLA is hosting three nights of Cunningham rep, plus plenty of satellite events. Want to see a living icon? Head to this golden anniversary blowout.
Rennie Harris Pure Movement. (UCLA Freud Playhouse, Westwood, April 23-27). Think that hip-hop is only what rap and rock stars do to sell records on MTV? These dancers will change your mind. Up from the streets of Philadelphia, Harris and company take hip-hop to the concert stage without losing its roots in the black community -- or its edge. Last time, they created a startling update of "Romeo and Juliet." This time, they're bringing to UCLA's Freud Playhouse a celebration of hip-hop as a spiritual force titled "Facing Mekka." And just try to face in any other direction.
Miami City Ballet. (Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, May 2-3): Edward Villella made history as one of the 20th century's first male All-American ballet stars. But that was only the beginning. After his dancing career ended at New York City Ballet, he founded a company in Miami and built it into one of the country's freshest, most exciting classical ensembles. Now his Miami City troupe comes to Cerritos with one program devoted to George Balanchine (Villella's artistic heritage) and one to Villella's own full-evening celebration of social dancing, "The Neighborhood Ballroom." Balanchine or boogie -- take your pick.
Eifman Ballet. (Orange County Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa, May 16-18). Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia only five years ago, so the steamy, bare-chested boychik duets in Boris Eifman's "Tchaikovsky: The Mystery of Life and Death" aren't exactly a familiar scherzo a la Russe. But this full-evening dance drama depicts the tortured life of a great composer with uncompromising intensity, using the classical prowess of the Eifman company of St. Petersburg to bring audiences an artist's view of what another artist suffered to bring us music that represents the epitome of Romantic yearning.
-- Lewis Segal