If Georgia O'Keeffe's pastel landscapes were dances, they'd be the plains elegies of Boston-based choreographer Benita Bike and her company, DanceArt. Sweeping and full of muscular femininity, her works take charge of the space and evoke the metaphysical power of ritual.
In a generally successful program of five ambitious dances at the Westside Academy of Dance on Saturday, Bike suggested that she will be a welcome addition to the Los Angeles dance community when she moves here this summer.
First on the program was "Womansong," an emotional tribal dance for five women accompanied by taped Bulgarian singing, a sound collage of sundry coughs, grunts and wheezes by Dean Wallraff and the dancers' own live incantations.
Similarly, the pounding, non-stop "Percussion Suite"--a cross between a rain dance and an aerobics workout--centered on group rites and included the dancers' live yelps and yowls.
"Ruins" was the most specific and least original of the dances, with tumbleweeds and branches on the floor and the four dancers in Native American-inspired tattered garments. Still, and despite the motif, it brought to mind both the haunting feel of the desert and the trepidation and even hostility such places can inspire.
"Un Petit Divertissement," a spunky duet for two cowgirl harlequins, a theatrical Helena Chang and a stiff and humorless Nicole Chuang, was the evening's most light-hearted moment.
Only "Voices and Recitations," a jerky, unfocused collage to eerie but annoying vocal experimentations of Georges Aperghis, failed to cohere.