Seven groups have been commissioned to produce new works. Forward thinking is paramount.

It sounds like a job for a robotics researcher, not a choreographer: figure out a way to bathe a stage in infrared light so that a computer can send a process signal to a suspended projector. But this is the first Bootleg Dance Festival, kicking off Friday at the Bootleg Theater near Echo Park, and forward-thinking approaches to dance are par for the course.

The Bootleg, a renovated 1930s warehouse on a gritty stretch of Beverly Boulevard, may be more familiar to alternative music fans who regularly pack its lobby lounge to see acts such as Joseph Arthur and Jenny O. The room’s experimental spirit makes it an important venue for other arts needing room to stretch. Alicia Adams, artistic director of the Bootleg, says that in evaluating submissions for the dance festival, she and co-curator Heidi Duckler of Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre were looking for “people who are really trying to rediscover dance in new ways”…


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