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Dance Review

When Dancing Tech to Tech Won't Do

June 29, 1998|JENNIFER FISHER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Louise Reichlin and Alfred Desio, the choreographers behind Los Angeles Choreographers and Dancers, are struggling with the lure of new technologies. Desio, a tap dancer, wires his feet to make a variety of amplified sounds as he dances; Reichlin attempts to dance about e-mail. Unfortunately, both of them demonstrate that if you've gotta have a gimmick, you've gotta have one that works.

Sharing a program at the Little Theatre at Los Angeles Valley College in Van Nuys on Saturday night, Reichlin and Desio were too often trapped in technological dead-ends, and elsewhere in the program there was very little good news either. Reichlin's several meandering modern dance pieces--three of which have "The Woman With One Head" in the title--are a mix of ill-conceived, simplistic stretching and swirling and badly costumed kitsch that seemed designed for a very young and undiscriminating audience.

In "The E-Mail Dances: version 2.0," Reichlin uses mostly slides, video projections and spoken narration to relive her electronic searches for family history and relatives. But it's unclear from this earnest but uninventive piece how dance can add to the discourse of cyberspace communication. Showing slides of a hand on a computer mouse, or a film of a computer screen, doesn't really evoke the ethos of e-mail, either.

Desio's few short tap pieces provided interludes with some choreographic focus--especially his trios with lanky young tappers Jonathan Scott and Sean Scott--but it's difficult to see the appeal of his "Tap-Tronics" method, featured in a brief solo. Who cares how Desio's feet are wired to produce sounds if the dance doesn't come to anything? The audience sees a table of stacked electronic units with a few flashing lights, and hears amplified blips and bongs competing with Desio's minimal hoofing. Not a marriage made in heaven, only on a drawing board.

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