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Dance Review : Bejart Veterans Offer Varied Program

November 10, 1986|SHELLEY BAUMSTEN

Tom Crocker and Jackie Planeix talk about dance in English and French, in prose, song and doggerel. These Bejart-trained American dancers are highly entertaining, but their revue, seen Friday at Wallenboyd Theater, offers more in-jokes than insights.

"Dance Talks!" features a dance alphabet, a be-bop fantasy, and 11 skits laced with dance lingo but lacking any essential dance content. Dance references abound: class and touring, St. Denis and Louis XIV, "A Diversion of Angels" and "Four Temperaments." Postures and gestures punctuate the patter, but movement never really fuses with text.

Crocker and Planeix rely on familiar associations and stock images for authenticity. Veterans of dance class will recognize the litany of instruction and exhortation, and fans of "A Chorus Line" will readily accept the doctrine of passionate devotion to dance.

Crocker's dancer-boy in "Liquid Diet" brings the cliche to life, licking the sweat from around his mouth in a dramatic detail that lends the flavor of experience. In "Zoo Story," Planeix provides another original moment, identifying the primal urge to dance in an anecdote about a spontaneous mating dance with a gorilla--"my first pas de deux."

The "Phenomenal International Blue Palm Dance Alphabet" serves as an admirable springboard for their wit, and Crocker and Planeix prove clever from A to Z and theatrical to the Nth degree. "I" sets off a hilarious stream of dancerly self-absorption in diet, regimen, and conditioning. "O" triggers a send-up of extravagant Gallic expressiveness. "Z," of course, puts them to sleep.

Planeix's wry humor plays off Crocker's jive-talking hipster/rapmaster persona, and her angular, almost martial attack complements his sinuous, powerful movement style. They excel at physical humor, and the prospect of seeing them dance together remains intriguing.

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