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DANCE REVIEW

More hits than misses in wide range of talent

May 19, 2003|Victoria Looseleaf | Special to The Times

It's a toss-up as to who works harder: dancer-choreographer-producer Deborah Brockus or the dozens of dancers who perform in her award-winning "Spectrum Dance in L.A." series. In any case, it's the dance community that benefits, as evidenced Saturday night at the Ivar Theatre when Spectrum #15 played to a packed house.

And while not all 17 choreographers triumphed, hits happily outweighed misses. Allan McCormick's jazzy septet, "Thieves in the Temple," showcased McCormick's bravura balancing and athleticism in the work's premiere. In a similar vein: Olivia Gaugain's new "Elements" featured a female quartet in tribal mode; Pat Taylor's latest, "Acknowledgment," saw four women vamping to John Coltrane; and Brockus Project Dance Company's "Blue and Orange Is the Reason" surrealistically forayed into fabrics and oranges.

Patrick Damon Rago's new "Four Inches to the Left" proved fresh and funny, with Rago occasionally partnering two women. Stellar solos included: Michael Mizerany's premiere "Feral," stealthily danced by Jose Carcamo, a fount of agility; and Holly Mistine, all passion -- on pointe -- in Patrick Frantz's flamenco-inspired "Farruca." Also pointe-driven: Stefan Wenta's elegant premiere, "In D Minor," with six women moving in unison to Bach.

Neo-cheerleading gave Mandy Moore's "Shy" a spunky gloss, while Paige Porter's "Jolene" rocked as a dozen women preened, jungle-like.

For sheer outrageousness, Jacob "Kujo" Lyons, Jesse "Lil Casper" Brown and Dan "The Man" Nier aced their "The Main Event," a hip-hop, faux boxing bout. Another duel: Bob Boross' "Basie's Bag" with two jaunty tappers.

Less successful: Trisha Banerjee's indulgent bharata natyam solo, "Dasavatharam"; and John Castagna's ill-conceived "Loss." In addition: Maria Elena Vazquez's "Sevillanas" and "Soleares" wouldn't qualify for Flamenco 101; Darryl Retter's "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby," exhibited bad Vegas lounge act tendencies; and Rande Dorn's arm-flailing "Saturated in Shelter" misfired to gospel wailings.

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