YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Given a choice between hope and yearning, take yearning

Premieres of dances by Keith Glassman and Meg Wolfe deal with the two emotions -- and one is clearly more inspired.

June 25, 2005|Victoria Looseleaf | Special to The Times

Who hasn't known the sensation of intense desire or the itch of harboring unrequited hope, especially while trying to navigate the perils of the modern world? Choreographers Keith Glassman and Meg Wolfe offered their takes on those feelings in two radically different premieres at Santa Monica's Highways Performance Space on Thursday. But Wolfe, a recent New York transplant, proved the far better channeler of yearning in her 25-minute solo, "Thirst."

Set to six musical selections -- including Bach, Harold Budd and the Funky String Band -- the work is an exuberant exploration of the universe of craving. Created with poet-novelist Magdalena Zurawski and featuring a text-strewn video backdrop by Mikki del Monico, it's fervent, clever and a vivid embodiment of insatiable longing.

With her cropped hair and intense visage, Wolfe has a beguiling presence, her upper torso a study in locomotion, her swaying hips and rapid head-swinging trance-like. As words such as "Polly wants water" appear on screen, the performer, like a parrot in need of Prozac, is fluid one moment, rattled and angry the next. She pounds a chair, she stuffs crackers in her mouth, she wriggles her fingers, finally putting out her own fire by dunking her head in a bucket of water. Weird but wonderful.

In contrast, Glassman's 40-minute "Audacious" -- inspired by Barack Obama's phrase "the audacity of hope" and based on interviews with a number of people on that subject -- is well intentioned but lacks focus and choreographic momentum.

Wearing drab (uncredited) costumes, Alan Grant, Miyo, Rollence Patugan, Pat Payne and Eryn Schon lunge, crawl and move a lot of milk crates around the floor, getting no help from a bland musical score by Sergio Cervetti (think Wonder Bread with vocal "ahs"). There is an atmosphere of earnest striving as a video by Jerome Thomas depicts a parade of individuals of varying ethnicities, but it feels forced.

Even a muscular solo by Miyo and a violent duet she performs with Grant (shades of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith") ring hollow, while a monologue by Payne about being a forty-ish, paper-pushing black woman is more interesting than Glass' uninspired dance designs. More hopeless than hopeful.


Meg Wolfe / Keith Glassman

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

When: 8:30 tonight

Price: $18

Contact: (310) 315-1459

Los Angeles Times Articles