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Dance Review

A Celebration of Matriarchal Ties That Bind and Fray

May 10, 1999|JENNIFER FISHER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

On the eve of Mother's Day, four local dance companies joined forces to present "Mothers and Daughters" at the Luckman Theatre on the campus of Cal State L.A. The theme was meant to highlight the companies' first-generation founders and their daughters' contributions, and it also showed up in the pieces themselves.

Two companies used scenes to set up a mother-dance teacher / student-daughter dynamic. Donald Byrd's "The Communion" had Lula Washington imperiously directing three members of the Lula Wa1936222574cers and greeted her real-life grandchildren.

Small children, in fact, threatened to upstage everyone during a few moments of the evening, but nowhere were they better used than in Dulce Capadocia's "Ma'i Lost," a dance theater folk tale starring Capadocia and her wonderfully varied, well-directed Silayan Dance Company. Capadocia has a gift for fusing elements of her contemporary dance background with the gentle nuance of traditional Philippine dance. And she stages narrative gracefully. Although voiced-over and spoken text was a bit old-fashioned in its declamatory style, movement flowed elegantly as it spilled into the aisles and was enhanced onstage by film projections, sepia shadows and silhouettes.

The final portion of a slightly overlong program belonged to the classical Indian dance form of kathak--and perhaps inadvertently revealed the occasionally conflicted desires of modern dancing daughters and mothers. After performing a few solos, Anjani Ambegaokar slowly explained that her offspring Amrapali was just now arriving in time to join her onstage after performing with David Rousseve at UCLA's Royce Hall across town (see review, F3). Today's dutiful daughter can only hope that the freeway between postmodern present and traditional past is always that kind.

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