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'Daybreak' flows into pertinent themes

The troupe led by Monica Favand offers 10 works whose dramatic and precise movements explore contemporary issues.

May 24, 2003|Victoria Looseleaf | Special to The Times

With its hallucinatory music, fertile moves and seductive lighting, Trip Dance Theatre, under the artistic direction of an indefatigable Monica Favand, is aptly named. Its latest journey: "Praying for Daybreak," a program of 10 stunningly danced works -- including eight premieres -- proved memorable at Highways Performance Space on Thursday, as the troupe used Favand's dramatic and precise movement style to probe current dark times.

In typical Trip fashion, pieces flowed into the next, separated only by Jamie Hunter's blackouts, beginning with the invocation, "Closing." Choreographed by the company, six dancers in a circle moved butoh-like to live music improvised by music director Charlie Campagna (cello) and Eric Potter (guitar), finally revealing Sundara Duncan stretching amid a pile of paper shavings in her athletic solo, "A Meeting With Peace."

Fade up on: Karen Ivy's "Three Poems for Margaret (Memory/Loss/Landing)," with Duncan, Favand, Kara Masters, Craig Ng, Quilet Rarang and Elaine Wang in sculptural mode, as outstretched arms and backbends predominated. Rarang's energetic "Dawn," a trio for Duncan, Ivy and Wang, offered lyrical unisons and an ethereal Campagna score.

"Love Dogs," choreographed and performed by Ng and Favand, ventured into a dating service (including a hilarious Ng-edited video). In "Death Follows Slowly," Favand scouted isolation with a stark set of Noguchi-like twigs, Campagna's beating-heart score and five dancers often in silent-scream postures.

Another showstopper: "When the Bones Lie Open," Favand's collaboration with guest dancer-choreographer Erica Rebollar, was a primeval romp set to Ron Bartlett's arpeggiated score that bled into the company coming together in the finale, "Opening."


'Praying for Daybreak'

Where: Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica

When: Tonight and Sunday, 8:30 p.m.

Price: $15-$18

Contact: (310) 315-1459

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