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Bethune's 'Galileo/jupiter/apollo'

June 27, 1987|CHRIS PASLES

Zina Bethune's new "Galileo/Jupiter/Apollo," danced by the Bethune Ballet Theatredanse Thursday at the Rehearsal Hall on Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood, resembled a glitzy mix of television commercials and science-fiction.

The 25-minute work, a collaboration between Bethune and the mixed-media group EZTV, presented bite-size dance segments linked by Rae Wilder's soft-science text, describing past and future explorations of the cosmos.

Against music by Philip Glass, Jean-Michel Jarre and Andreas Vollenweider, Bethune set derivative academic ballet vocabulary and Vegas-style eroticism that worked her six strong dancers hard in flashy, difficult lifts and fast leaps across the stage.

But her choreography was curiously literal. When the text dealt with the chaotic asteroid belt, for instance, the dancers merely reeled about.

Video and animation technology, "black light" effects and smoke machines were silent-but-major partners. Projected on two video screens set at either end of the performance space were still images of the dancers, animated images suggesting star travel or, most wondrously, portions of John Wehrle's witty, imaginative freeway mural, "Galileo/Jupiter/Apollo" on Route 101 between Broadway and Spring streets. Unfortunately, Bethune's choreography never measured up to that.

When narrator H. M. Wynant intoned portentously that "our fascination with the heavens may some day reach beyond our earthly point of view," the dancers were given nothing to do except the flying leaps and lifts seen earlier.

Bethune's work, which will be repeated tonight, is the first part of a trilogy, "Roadside Attractions."

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