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DANCE REVIEW

Mendonca's Electric Tap Dominates

August 12, 1996|JENNIFER FISHER

What Veronica Apodaca-Mendonca does with her new company Dance Electric is nothing if not crowd-pleasing, perhaps because she offers up so many of the driving rhythms, sleek silhouettes and hard fabrics that dominate popular entertainment. On a program of eight short pieces at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood Friday night, there were the requisite indications of a sexy-nasty mood, this time wrapped around pointe shoes and athletic tough-guy postures.

But there was also the clear-cut rhapsody of Mark Mendonca, co-director of the company and Apodaca-Mendonca's husband. In his solo, "L," and in a duet with drummer Karma Auger, Mendonca dazzled. With a light, economical intensity he could shatter one tap into flinty, unnatural shards, or enter your bloodstream with sounds that escalated from the steady thrumming of your heartbeat to a dangerously rapid pulse.

Two pieces that Mendonca choreographed with Apodaca-Mendonca were full of borrowed attitudes and poses: "Voo-Does" had decorative ballet steps and street-fighter crouches. "Chronicles of the 'n' Zone" was a faux noir vignette.

"Acid Barbie," a trio by dancer Michele Bachar, had a germ of rebellious spirit but suffered technical lag from jazzy "getting down" to being pulled up for pointe work.

Tami Knight gets the balletic daredevil award for her retrograde "Sleeping Beauty" solo. It's a lot harder to dance backward than it is to run taped Tchaikovsky in reverse, but you could see traditional steps unglued. A nifty way to rewind your roots.

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