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Dance Review

Kirven's Program Gets Hung Up on Appearances

January 26, 2002|VICTORIA LOOSELEAF | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Clothes, or the lack thereof, may make the man, but not the choreographer. Jack Kirven, in his solo dance program "Icon" at Highways Performance Space on Thursday, could definitely move, when he wasn't spending time peeling off or putting on briefs, unitard, thong or leather chaps.

A master's candidate in dance at UCLA, Kirven seemed to take several choreographic cues from L.A.'s Michael Mizerany (contorted yoga moves, self-flagellation and arched back gesturing), but ultimately proved naive in his conceptualizations. "Bull," a three-part, 50-minute opus, proved tedious and overly literal, with the first part, "Minotaur," highlighted by a plethora of snorts set to Debussy's "Afternoon of a Faun," and "Ferdinand," in which Kirven's benign beast writhed to Ravel's "Bolero." Finally, "And I Can Be Your Cowboy" saw Kirven strip and preen to the music of Madonna.

"P-175," a section of the German penal code used by the Nazis to justify the murder of half a million gay people, completed the program. Performed as three scenes, the work had no ostensible connection to the doctrine, as Kirven donned fishnet top, fanged rubber mask and long black wig, all the while reciting a poem about loving a man.

When Kirven stealthily leaped, turned, or allowed himself unadulterated movement, he showed promise. Those moments, however, were too few and far between.

Jack Kirven in "Icon," repeats tonight at 8:30, Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica, (310) 315-1459. $15.

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