Seven best bets for your L.A. weekend: Cirque du Soleil, Martha Graham Dance and more

A slideshow features an acrobat, a violinist and a pair of dancers.
Cirque du Soleil’s “Ovo”; violinist Randall Goosby; Martha Graham Dance Company’s “Canticle for Innocent Comedians.”
(Cirque du Soleil; Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times; Melissa Sherwood)

A rising classical music star, performances by not one but two top dance companies and an entomological extravaganza lead our short list of cultural offerings this weekend. Before you go, remember to call or check online for reservation requirements and other COVID-19 protocols.

Cirque du Soleil’s ‘OVO’
Acrobats, aerialists, etc., costumed as brightly colored insects, caper and cavort in this touring production from the Montréal-based company known for its high-flying, jaw-dropping spectaculars. Microsoft Theater, L.A. Live, 777 Chick Hearn Court, downtown L.A. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday; other dates through May 1. $44-$230.

The company announces that it’s emerging from the pandemic with a focus not on touring shows but on Las Vegas. SoCal visitors are key.

April 21, 2021

‘Wagner, Mendelssohn + Brahms’
Up-and-coming violinist Randall Goosby joins guest conductor Roderick Cox and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. The program also includes Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll” and Brahms’ Serenade No. 2. Royce Hall, UCLA, 10745 Dickson Court, Westwood. 8 p.m. Saturday. Also at the Ambassador Auditorium, 131 S. St. John Ave., Pasadena. 7 p.m. Sunday. $25-$133.


Martha Graham Dance Company
The storied troupe returns to SoCal with a program that includes the world premiere of “The New Canticle for Innocent Comedians,” inspired by a long-lost Graham work from the 1950s and featuring a jazzy new score by pianist-composer Jason Moran performed by alt-classical ensemble Wild Up. Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, Cal State Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. 8 p.m. Saturday. $41-$86.

‘ABT Forward’
The renowned American Ballet Theatre also takes the stage with a trio of short programs: A celebration of the musical stylings of beloved crooner Tony Bennett, a salute to legendary composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein and a world-premiere commission from acclaimed choreographer Alonzo King. Segerstrom Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. $39-$129.

Iranian New Year Celebration
Farhang Foundation’s free Iranian New Year Celebration returns to UCLA on Sunday.
(Farhang Foundation)

13th Annual Celebration of Nowruz
Celebrate Iranian New Year with the return of this free and family-friendly festival presented by the Farhang Foundation. Performers include the Ava Choir, L.A. Daf Ensemble, Melieka Fathi Dance Company, Firuze Dance Company, plus puppetry, storytelling, tasty treats and more. UCLA, 10745 Dickson Court, Westwood. Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The L.A.-based Pacific Opera Project — a.k.a. POP — stages Tchaikovsky’s one-act musical drama, with blind soprano Cristina Jones in the title role of the blind princess whose father, the king, has kept her isolated and unaware of both her sightlessness and her royal status. Sung in Russian with English supertitles. Aratani Theatre, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, 244 San Pedro St., Little Tokyo, downtown L.A. 3 p.m. Sunday; also 7:30 p.m. March 26, and 3 p.m. March 27. $12-$60; VIP tickets (opening night only): $100.

Van Gogh at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Infinity Mirrored Room’ at the Broad. Ramen bowls at Japan House Los Angeles.

March 1, 2022

‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’
Echo Theater Company rolls into Elysian Park with the troupe’s “theater truck” to act out a free and family-friendly 40-minute version of Shakespeare’s sylvan fantasy. Elysian Park, Angel’s Point Picnic Area, 929 Academy Road, L.A. 3 p.m. Saturday; also March 26. Picnics and picnic blankets encouraged.