American Tap, Spanish flamenco and Indian kathak focus more intently on percussive step-rhythms than any other dance forms and they also share non-theatrical origins plus an emphasis on improvisational interplay between dancer and musician.
By juxtaposing these forms, the stimulating "Sole Music" program, Monday in Theatre 2 of the Los Angeles Theatre Center, inevitably highlighted the points in common and made the inevitable anomalies seem pointless.
Thus, Chitresh Das' explication of kathak onomatopoeia--volleys of barefoot steps reproducing the sound of cannon shots, galloping horses and a railway journey--obviously belonged to the evening's implied agenda. And thus flamenco artist Oscar Nieto's softly crooned, loudly amplified ballad, "Me Va," appeared an irrelevance.
Indeed, it took Nieto and his partner, Ambar Gonzalez, a long time to work up to any sustained heelwork, and these glum, dutiful passages scarcely suggested the relationship between technique and emotion in flamenco dancing. Cantaor Chinin de Triana and guitarist Victor Kolstee offered expert accompaniment but only occasionally did the music and movement fuel one another.