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Summer Splash | Dance / Critic's Pick

May 22, 1997|LEWIS SEGAL

Pop goes summer dance, with lightweight fairy-tale ballets, hard-sell rock extravaganzas, a sci-fi stepdance spectacle and even a "Dracula" dance-drama imported from Texas monopolizing major venues before Labor Day.

But audiences seeking a little protein in their dance diet do have intriguing choices to consider, starting with the always impressive American Repertory Dance Company in an unusual program of modern dance reconstructions and revivals at the Japan America Theatre on June 20. Led by directors Bonnie Oda Homsey and Janet Eilber, the company will present rarely seen solos and duets by seven choreographers.

The powerhouse Canadian ensemble O Vertigo Danse revisits the Southland on July 25 with a preview of Ginette Laurin's "The Beast Within" in the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, part of the "Summer Arts" series at Cal State Long Beach.

JazzAntiqua, a locally based company that put itself on the map last summer by retelling Homer's "Odyssey" as an African American jazz fable, returns to the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre on Aug. 9 with the premiere of "The Soul Never Dwells in a Dry Place," another creative adventure.

Scheduled from July 18 to 26, the annual showcase series Dance Kaleidoscope presents 27 Southland companies in four locations this year, with the intimate Knoebel Dance Theatre at Cal State Long Beach hosting a Kaleidoscope program for the first time. Also new: designating five choreographers as Distinguished California Artists and inviting their companies to participate in the Kaleido-events.

Finally, don't let all the newly announced summer diversions keep you from Matthew Bourne's "Swan Lake," continuing at the Ahmanson Theatre through June 15 and, thus far, the only indispensable dance event of 1997.

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