In the hourlong "Love in Four Acts," Chicago-based choreographers work with WTTW directors to create new dances on location in the Windy City. Varied and accessible, it's the kind of project that seems to flourish at PBS outlets everywhere except Los Angeles, where KCET-TV largely ignores the dance community and minimizes the dance programming available.
The program starts gritty and streetwise and grows increasingly artificial, ending in a stylized ballet-studio. The concept of "love" takes just as many forms.
In "Urban Transfer," Randy Duncan uses documentary inserts to make a public spectacle of a provocative triangle: a young man trying to get between another youth and his girlfriend to grab the guy for himself.
Duncan (who has choreographed for the Joffrey Ballet) is the only one on the project to use original music (by Tommy Mother) and to make Chicago a dynamic participant in the dance-action. For Claire Bataille, an abandoned factory serves as a picturesque backdrop for the sleek jazz platitudes of "Lifetimes," a quartet in which she draws from her cast the same technical exactitude and expressive concentration she upheld in her years with the Hubbard Street company.
Gordon Peirce Schmidt's dance-drama "Gesualdo" aggressively retails adultery, murder, creative obsession, ballet technique and video effects in depicting a 16th-Century composer haunted to madness. And no wonder: As Gesualdo scribbles feverishly on his sheet music, his secrets unravel to music by Bartok--enough to drive any Renaissance madrigalist over the edge.
Formerly with New York City Ballet, Daniel Duell ends the telecast with the neoclassical "Passage," ostensibly about love-of-dancing, but essentially an exploration of the lyric pas de deux, here shared by two couples. Not especially distinguished but, as with all of "Love in Four Acts," notable for excellent performances.
\o7 * "Love in Four Acts" airs at 10 tonight on KCET-TV Channel 28.