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DANCE REVIEW

Martinez Troupe Shows Its Mettle in 'Trilogy'

August 19, 1996|VICTORIA LOOSELEAF

With states of agitated emotions, accompanied by the grit of unwavering determination, Francisco Martinez's work "Trilogy," which premiered Saturday at Cal State Northridge's Performing Arts Center, might also be a metaphor for this locally based teacher-choreographer: Francisco Martinez Dancetheatre, now in its 15th year, continues to present inspired work, despite small audiences and the financial challenges inherent in today's dance companies.

The three-part "Trilogy" seductively employs urgent, occasionally dissonant string scores of Julio Estrada, Mario Lavista and Javier Alvarez to accentuate a quivering, sinewy movement vocabulary. The first section, "Passage," features Diana MacNeil caught between two men, Brian Carter and Roger Gonzalez Hibner, in which the trio piggybacks, hops, leaps and rakishly turns while tackling the issue of confinement.

"Path" showcases the striking Jennifer Martin, reminiscent of a young Gwen Verdon on pointe, who evocatively stretches, slides into splits, trembles, crawls and gets dragged by the toe by partner Eloy Barragan in an elusive chase, where touching appears traumatic and tension rules.

The final movement, "Corridor," brings resolution in a series of propulsive stage runs as a septet of dancers collides and gesticulates with arms outstretched and women sometimes partner women.

The previously reviewed "Azulada" opened the evening, while "Fostering Dreams," Martinez's fanciful homage to composer Stephen Foster, harks back to an idyllic existence, where girls wore pinafores and courtships consisted of waltzes, polkas and the simple harmonies of a summer's eve.

Los Angeles would be wise to take more notice of Martinez, a broad-ranging choreographer whose robust vision continues to speak to the spirit of dance.

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