The Music Center of Los Angeles will announce its 2016-2017 dance season on Tuesday, and organizers say the boundary-pushing lineup features some of the art form's most exciting established and up-and-coming choreographers and artistic directors -- who happen to be women.
"We're looking at dance from the 21st century," says the associate vice president of programming, Michael Solomon, adding that the unusually high number of women in key roles in various productions is a coincidence, not the goal. In building the season, Solomon says, the Music Center focused on the questions: "Who is the audience now and how does movement speak to today's generation?"
Highlights include the Music Center debut of Jessica Lang Dance. Lang has created more than 90 works with companies around the world, including Birmingham Royal Ballet, the National Ballet of Japan and Joffrey Ballet, and she is one of the most prominent female choreographers in the U.S.
"Jessica has been choreographing for about 15 years and built up her own repertoire of choreography before she decided to embark down the road of having her own company," says Solomon, adding that her company recently acquired a studio in Queens.
Lang's company will perform a number of pieces, including two new works she created in 2015. "Thousand Yard Stare" deals with the repercussions of war; "Tesseracts of Time," created in collaboration with noted architect Steven Holl, is a West Coast premiere.
"I find her work incredibly accessible," Solomon says, adding that Lang "uses a lot of contemporary music in her work, as well as beautiful set pieces to go with it."
Another big entry in the forthcoming season is Scottish Ballet's West Coast premiere production of "A Streetcar Named Desire." Theatrical and cinematic elements of the Tennessee Williams play, which will be celebrating its 70th anniversary, are explored in dance that unites the talents of choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and director Nancy Meckler.
Given the fact that the play was written by a man and originally directed by a man, Solomon says it's interesting to watch this interpretation by two women -- particularly how they handle the play's dark undercurrents of sexual violence, male dominance and female vulnerability.
"It has great set pieces and great costumes," Solomon says. "And there is a bit of the quality of watching a film, but again, it's accessible in the way in which they tell the story. It's very easy to follow."
New York City principal ballerina Tiler Peck has been invited to curate the Music Center's second "BalletNow" event. Peck will create three nights of mixed repertory, including performances featuring leading principal dancers from all over the world and choreography by the likes of Christopher Wheeldon, Justin Peck and the late Jerome Robbins.
"It was an opportunity to bring her voice to the table," Solomon says, "and to showcase the kind of repertory that she wants to work with, which includes some new and more contemporary work."
The full 2016-17 Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center season:
"Celebrate Forsythe" featuring choreographer William Forsythe collaborating with San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Houston Ballet, Oct. 21-23. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Jessica Lang Dance Company, mixed repertoire, Feb. 17-19, 2017. Ahmanson Theatre.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, program to be announced, March 8-12, 2017. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Scottish Ballet, "A Streetcar Named Desire," May 19-21, 2017. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg, "Tchaikovsky," June 23-25, 2017. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
"BalletNow," mixed repertory curated by Tiler Peck, July 28-30. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
For more information call (213) 972-0711 or visit www.musiccenter.org/1617dance. Check back later for more information on the Music Center's "Dance DTLA" and "Moves After Dark" summer programming.