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DANCE REVIEWS : A 'Kaleidoscope' of Continuity

August 02, 1993|LEWIS SEGAL

"Dance Kaleidoscope 1993" ended Saturday where the annual series originally began--not at Cal State L.A. (its home for the last five seasons) but at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood.

To celebrate the homecoming, some of Southern California's splashiest world-dance companies joined forces for a pan-cultural jamboree, with every group except one offering live music, and enough children onstage throughout the evening to make continuity of tradition a shared theme.

Dramatizing respect for cultural differences, Silayan Dance Company and Djimbe West African Drummers and Dancers collaborated on a vibrant Afro-Filipino dance drama, "The Barter of the Island of Panay," that used the hillsides and aisles of the Ford for processional spectacle.

However, the dances themselves turned out to be merely recontextualized repertory staples, and the opportunities for choreographic interaction (much less fusion) fizzled out in a perfunctory finale. Dulce Capadocia led the Silayan forces majestically, with Leon L. Mobley forcefully heading the Djimbe contingent.

Ballet Folklorico del Sur de California opened the program with a varied, powerfully danced Aztec suite choreographed by Deanna Venegas and Ramon Nunez--the latter an impressive soloist long before he put his bare feet and thighs to the flame in the concluding fire ritual.

Weakened by both its placement on the program and by the interminable waits between companies that afflicted the whole evening, Karpatok Hungarian Folk Ensemble presented a subdued, artful suite from the Mezoseg region of Transylvania. Choreographed by Janos Olah and Ricardo Salas, this segment used group dancing, solo bravura (with Olah especially virtuosic), women's singing, orchestral music and religious iconography to evoke the complexity and depth of Hungarian folklore.

A collection of brilliant effects with no core, the Soleares danced by flamenco artist Angelita had style to burn, but the sole expressivity in this segment came from vocalist Chinin de Triana.

A previously reviewed Guerrero suite by Ballet Folklorico del Pacifico completed the program.

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