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Dance/la At Barnsdall Park

June 09, 1986|SHELLEY BAUMSTEN

After a lull of several years, Dance/LA returned to the local concert scene Friday to present three new works at the Barnsdall Park Gallery Theatre. Some of the principals have changed, but the strongly danced program reflected a continuing commitment to individualism in repertory and ensemble values in performance.

"Nothing Suite" featured the dual talents of dancer/choreographer d'Warf in a theater/dance piece that took a sly look at life in the fast lane. Nancye Ferguson made a striking guest appearance in an acting role, ably joined by Janet Carroll and Anita Pace-Warfield in the seriocomic affairs of a libidinous and chemically adventurous quartet.

Paul M. Young's composite score cued the action as it moved through amorous misadventure (romantic strings), hallucinatory "bad trip" (weirdo music), sharp-edged pas de trois (hard-driving rock), and simultaneous solos accompanied by a bittersweet ballad as they wound and unwound, folded and released.

Former Dance/LA artistic director Ronnie Brosterman contributed "A is for. . . ," an absorbing study of attraction and repulsion featuring Pace-Warfield, Cathy Milne and Rene Olivas Gubernick. Tenderness gave way to dependency, manipulation and gestures of hunger, loneliness and defiance.

An original score for voice by Mark Shafer mirrored emotional disintegration with the decomposition of the alphabet and cries of distress. It all ended, unexpectedly, not with a whimper but a yawn.

"Pavane," Victoria Koenig's colorful homage to Spanish dance, received its local premiere in Koenig's choreographic debut with the company. Milne outshone the more tentative Pace-Warfield and newcomer Tracy Leong in the sweeping sculptural turns, the ornamental port de bras and the lush lyricism of the piece.

Familiar works by d'Warf, Gubernick and Martha Kalman completed the program.

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