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STAGE REVIEW : 'Talks!' Gives the Blue Palm Dancers a Chance to Be Heard

November 26, 1987|DON SHIRLEY

Like silent-film stars facing the onslaught of talkies, dancers who want to extend their careers must learn how to talk as well as move. Jackie Planeix and Tom Crocker, also known as Blue Palm, are former Bejart dancers who now perform with their voices--and their microphones--as well as their bodies.

Their "Dance Talks!," presented by Pipeline at the Saxon-Lee Gallery, combines sinuous movement with beat-style poetry on the subject of--what else?--dance, and the struggle of dancers' minds to be heard over the music of their muscles. Not everything in it is crystal clear, but just about everything in it is engaging.

In the first half of the program, the duo wears feline tails behind flamboyant red outfits, and the 11 short pieces emphasize the animalistic heartbeat of dance.

Planeix claims that she found her vocation (dance) while performing a pas de deux with an aroused gorilla in a Sri Lankan zoo. Crocker sings a haunting little number about dance as a force of nature. One piece, "Speak Dancer Speak," illustrates the difficulty of doing what the title prescribes.

After intermission, Planeix and Crocker appear in caps and gowns over traditional ballet clothes and take us on a tour of "The Phenomenal International Blue Palm Dance Alphabet." More cerebral and ironic than the first half of the program, the "Alphabet" decimates dance world cliches and concludes with a witty nod to dance audiences who nod out.

The evening concludes with "Space Angels"--a brief bit of scat poetry, hardly danced at all, purportedly a tribute to Isadora Duncan, Vaslav Nijinsky and Jack Kerouac. The pair dons enormous angel wings, an intriguing contrast to the tails of the first part of the program.

Performances at 7525 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood, are Sundays at 8 p.m. through Dec. 27. Tickets: $10; (213) 629-2205.

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