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DANCE REVIEW

Fifth 'Voices in Motion' a Showcase of Trepidation

July 02, 1996|LEWIS SEGAL | TIMES DANCE CRITIC

Young L.A. choreographers are scared--feeling battered by unseen forces, overwhelmed by a threatening future.

That's the message you get from "Voices in Motion 5," the latest showcase of emerging contemporary locals, seen Sunday at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions in Hollywood. Well-crafted and capably performed, nearly all the nine pieces on view are steeped in trepidation and danced to apocalyptic soundscores.

Morgan Williams' solo "Tied to Memories" starts with waltz-like lyricism but soon shatters into convulsive terror and anguish, both powerfully projected in her dancing.

Defined in tense tableaux and sudden bursts of motion, Robin Ziemer's duet "Rocket Eye 19" uses Ziemer and R. Howard to develop graphic images of pain and violence: stalkings, shootings, the need to subdue a relentless adversary.

Madness reigns in Jenny Ballard's duet "Siblings," with Liz Joyce and Sue McNamara wearing shorts, straitjackets and toe shoes. Though she arguably goes over the top expressively, Ballard deftly mines the ballet vocabulary for its most dangerous leg-swings, its most assaultive pointe-work.

Sharon Field's solo "Master" finds Kirsten Barron cowering fearfully, her arms pinioned behind her at one point, but gaining a measure of self-possession by the end.

In contrast, the quiet heroism of maintaining one's sense of balance in a hostile environment informs Lisa K. Lock's fine sculptural solo "Window of Silence."

Danced by the choreographer and Cari Riis, Samuel Donlavy's "Ever/Last" depicts a love relationship repeatedly splintered by violence and suffused with hopeless loneliness: a bleak vision indeed.

Cindera Che's women's quartet "Chein: Wein's Song" creates a more positive statement about togetherness from the artful interplay of individual action and group dynamics. Here a troubled outsider (Anne Nguyen) seems to subdue her private pain by accommodation to a collective identity.

A sense of sisterhood also emerges in CatherineMarie Davalos' "Legal Alien," which begins with a text exploring prejudice against multicultural citizens ("American, but hyphenated . . . perhaps exotic, perhaps inferior"), then segues into formal dances for four women conveying solidarity and optimism.

Finally, Phyllis Douglass' sextet "Urban Griot" makes the image of women desperately clinging to one another its central motif, showing them giving and taking support in a time of crisis.

Douglass' cast includes five choreographers from the program, so the theme of people needing to help one another assumes an added resonance.

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