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DANCE REVIEW

Festival celebrates the future

November 12, 2002|Victoria Looseleaf | Special to The Times

While the rain may have kept many Angelenos away from the second annual Sola Contemporary Dance Festival held over the weekend at James Armstrong Theatre in Torrance, spirits were far from dampened. As Regina Klenjoski, artistic director of Regina Klenjoski Dance Company and producer of the event, noted, the purpose of presenting 10 emerging contemporary choreographers was to break boundaries and shape the future of dance in Los Angeles.

The pluck and determination factor was high; the results, however, were not always successful.

But there was plenty to admire, especially in two of the evening's solo outings: A luminous Moonea Choi soared in her "Claudia Gate," with fluttering hands and huge leaps hallmarking this elegant, structured improvisation. Striking an altogether different chord, Albertossy Espinoza, dancing as a mad zaftig gypsy woman in his premiere, "Gender," spoofed with dervish twirling, nearly impossibly high kicks and emotive floor-crawling, finally flinging off falsies and wig to wacky effect.

Dorcas Roman, an exciting purveyor of contact improvisation, led eight dancers in "Subtle Fragmentations," highlighted by body balancing and intense partnering. Also creating heat: Underdog Dance Project's Cat Manturuk and Heather Vaughan's playful "Melt" and Sarandon Cassidy and Hanh Nguyen in the latter's "Gotcha" (2002). Infused with razor-sharp martial arts moves and performed to live percussion and ferociously reverberated guitar, the daring work throbbed with unpredictability.

Less winning: Lucid Dance's Jay Bartley and Tyffyne Stuart, both beefy and wearing upper body harnesses in their 2001 work, "Tethered." After the novelty of the elastic prop wore off, the duo had little to say. Philein Wang's "Remember Me" (2002) proved a hodgepodge of melodrama, with background slides a further ploy for pathos. Don McLeod's premiere, "Redemption," proved that slow, spastic moves do not necessarily good Butoh make, as he preened in sequined kimono and face mask, before self-consciously contorting himself sans accouterments.

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