Like the winged hood ornament on a Rolls-Royce, award-winning dancer-choreographer Loretta Livingston makes a statement. In fact, with her skillful company of dancers, Livingston, a Bella Lewitsky disciple, made a series of them Friday at the Japan America Theatre in the premiere of her "Tales From the Plate, Moving North." Not necessarily profound or palpably moving statements, though.
"Tales," commissioned by the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, is Livingston's whimsical take on Los Angeles as it creeps tectonically toward Alaska. The city, sometimes considered deeply superficial, may have earthquakes, riots and floods, but it can also be a capricious paradise with quixotic allure. It is this strangely nebulous allure that Livingston cultivates, with mixed success.
She plays the dispassionate observer Angelita Luz, a towheaded, cigarette-smoking, feather-winged angel who glides across the stage on a kiddy cart one moment and high kicks a la a new age Rockette the next.
A Kate Moss with muscle, Angelita keeps watch over her band of five, who adroitly tumble, leap, primordially crawl and even tango amid Frank Romero's winsome set of movable cut-out palm trees, cars, a knifelike cross and a ubiquitous gun.