Attempting to merge films with the ephemeral art of dance, Deborah Brockus, artistic director of Brockus Project Dance Company, presented "Caught Between: Dancing for Camera and Live Audience" at the Ivar Theatre in Hollywood over the weekend. The 12-part program--oldies, excerpts and premieres--yielded mixed results.
Although dance on film can range from flat to breathtaking, nothing beats the intoxicating aspects of well-performed live dance with good choreography, when flesh and blood beckon the audience's senses, taking them on a journey of discovery and satisfaction. "Inside Out," was such a dance, with Kelley Parker and Scott Hislop giving life to Alexandre Magno's hot, if overly commercial, 1992 choreography. Sensual partnering made for a compelling work, with Magno's video (a premiere) of the couple redundant, indeed, a distraction from the onstage action.
Bodytalk dance's Lauren Winslow Kearns made better use of a slide from Notre Dame as backdrop to her premiere, "Holding," a duet between her and Sally E. Lambert punctuated by swinging arms and whiplash-like partnering. Winslow Kearns' other premiere, the film "Everywhere I Look," saw her moving fluidly through an all-white space.
Another dance-film premiere was Brockus' "Places Between." Beautiful but benign, it featured dancers moving from beach to desert to city in colorful costumes.
Other stand-alone films: Stephanie Gilliland's brilliant black-and-white "The Elevator Dance" (2001), a grainy, "dance noir" party taking place in an elevator with her hard-working company, Tongue; Jamie Nichols' "Caixa del Sol (Box of Sun)" from 1990 with a hip-swinging, shadow-filled duet; and "Four Minutes," Sallie DeEtte Mackie's artful look at local dancers she has photographed since 1992.
Previously seen but making effective use of live dance and video were Rosanna Gamson/World Wide in excerpts from "Rita Goes to Hell" (2001), and the feral "Instinct" (2002), choreographed by Hysterica Dance Company director Kitty McNamee.
Less successful was Nina Kaufman's "Flight" (2001), a static film and duet. Nina Winthrop's film, "Too Close for Conversation," was clever, but her work-in-progress, "Prism," featuring a live musician and solo dancer, had no film and didn't belong in the show. Where were Fred and Ginger when you needed them?