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Dance Review

Spectrum Shines With Vitality

Hit-and-run artistry rules in the series' latest installment, featuring 15 pieces in less than two hours and emphasizing commercial work.

May 07, 2002|LEWIS SEGAL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The series Spectrum: Dance in L.A. continues to offer emerging local choreographers and companies access to a young, enthusiastic audience and the dance community as a whole a celebration of its own vitality.

At the Ivar Theatre on Sunday, Spectrum #11 may have neglected traditional world dance and overemphasized commercial work, but with 15 pieces in less than two hours, the program allowed no time for creative self-indulgence or confusion. Hit-and-run artistry ruled, and sometimes the results proved dazzling.

Take "Cellove," Josie Walsh's (Myo Dance Company) wicked, witty and technically demanding portrait of an artist obsessed with his instrument and eventually overwhelmed by it. At once a parody of ballet partnering conventions and an unorthodox classical showpiece, it found accomplished interpreters in Claudia Velasco and, especially, the charismatic Demian Boergadine.

Equally obsessive in its own way, Brian Frette's commanding modern dance solo "Stigmata" punctuated meditative and even lyrical passages with sudden, unpredictable outbursts, notably high-speed backward crawls and a number of punishing body slams to the floor.

More subdued but remarkably fluent and expressive, Christine and Nicole Baltes' (Jazz Spectrum Dance Company) modern dance solo "A New Day" inventively physicalized female resilience through Nicole Baltes' use of a chair as a spatial focus and partner.

Sometimes an otherwise ordinary piece grew memorable because of a single component--Nalani Wilson's ravishing Hawaiian-style gestural embellishments in her solo "In My Life," for example, or the gorgeous liquid undulations by 13 women in Anna Djanbazian's (Djanbazian Dance Company) "In the Garden of Soul."

Similarly, Kevin "Roscoe" Farnsworth's (Roscoe's Rascals) "Mr. Zoot Suit" looked impressive whenever it stuck to Lindy Hop partnering gambits, and Allan McCormick's (Synthesis Dance Company) pop showpiece "Sadeness" capitalized effectively on his gymnastic prowess, though it never topped the excitement of its opening image: McCormick in a spectacular, contorted handstand with five women clustered around him.

Among the other pop choreographies, Kenji Yamaguchi's quintet "Against the Wind" relied on a sense of atmosphere, infusions of ballet bravura (not always well integrated) and a very versatile cast, while Jessica Lynn's septet "Who Are We to Judge?" gained impact from its sense of group solidarity.

If you looked at this kind of work Sunday as an index to current social attitudes, you'd have noticed lots of gender parity--men and women used interchangeably in Jesse Abrescy and Arleen Flores' hip-hop ensemble "Son of a Gun," for example, and even a male lifted by a female in Cindera Che's multidisciplinary "Che Gelida Manina."

Produced by Deborah Brockus and Daisy Kim of the Brockus Project Dance Company, Spectrum #11 also included Brockus' duet "Jardin," a homage to the old jazz-dance status quo in which a male existed to lift, a woman to be lifted and they didn't need steps as long as the former could keep the latter hoisted high above his head.

Brockus also contributed "Dunes," in which three women gestured and swayed atop a stage-filling cloth sculpture. The initial impression proved striking, but the movement possibilities turned out to be cruelly limited.

Ellen Rosa's solo "Danza" and Nicole Dougherty's (Metropolitan Ballet Company) ensemble "Kodo" completed the program.

*

Spectrum: Dance in L.A. #12 takes place Aug. 24, 8 p.m., and Aug. 25, 7 p.m. $12-$20. Ivar Theatre, 1605 Ivar Ave., Hollywood. (310) 645-9419.

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