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Punchy Jazz Dance Show At Chippendales

June 11, 1987|LEWIS SEGAL | Dance Writer

Dennon and Sayhber Rawles have presented their 8-year-old Jazz Dancers Inc., company in a number of local theater and studio venues--but Chippendales in West Los Angeles suits them perfectly.

In this intimate nightclub environment, their punchy, collaborative ensemble choreography comes over with maximum impact, and its male-oriented message of sexual consumerism finds immediate, unquestioning acceptance.

Indeed, the Chippendales spectators faithfully emit banshee shrieks and dog-yelps every time the four company men shake their shoulders, flex their arms or grind their hips, though the five hard-working women dancers practically have to bleed to provoke any reaction.

No pretensions to concert dance here--and, in this 45-minute performance (scheduled each Tuesday at 9 p.m.), no danger of exhausting anyone's attention span, either.

As dancers, the Rawles team outclasses the others in expressive power and technical control, though even these virtues can't bring off the hackneyed reconciliation duet in "Tango Apasionado" credibly. (The piece depicts a frenzied singles-bar cruising scene--which, at Chippendales, makes it as site-specific as staging "Oklahoma!" in Oklahoma or "Aida" on the banks of the Nile.)

Initially unfocused, the sleek, formal "Latin in Vogue" suite introduces many intriguing partnering ploys (though only Mr. and Mrs. R. can consistently deliver a full quota of hip action). The three couples in "Just to See Her" have less inventive combinations to perform and the hard-sell "Gazoot" finale has only David Norwood's spectacular turns to recommend it.

Erica Jordan's "Picture Me: Positive/Negative" (formal tai chi movements and stances inconclusively resequenced and embellished) completes the program.

Undoubtedly the company will tighten up from the underdanced, oversold opening-night show--and, perhaps too the choreographers will learn how much hotter the close and relatively private encounters between dancers seem on this stage than all the incessant group gymnastics and arm-flailing.

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