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DANCE REVIEW

A sexual journey finds a home in 'Wet Spots'

SuarezDance's ode to 'the Big O' makes the most of its cottage confines with a coyly intimate production.

June 02, 2008|Sara Wolf | Special to The Times

More expedition than dance concert, SuarezDanceTheater's site-specific "Wet Spots: The Story Project" led audiences through the Venice Beach Eco Cottages and into a multi-sensory exploration of the female orgasm Friday night.

Tucked into a corner of one of the three picturesque cottages arrayed in Americana decor, small tour groups became proverbial flies on the wall, listening in on intimate details about the almighty "O" that women had shared with choreographer Christine Suarez and watching her vignettes and tiny dances ingeniously crafted to the scale of the cozy surrounds.

Spectators huddled in a breakfast nook to view a solo in the postage stamp-sized kitchenette. Set against the beat of an egg timer, this mini-dance featured Suarez, fulsome at seven months pregnant, performing an ode to fingers.

Alternately, one could follow dancers from room to room, such as with Bonnie Lavin and Meg Wolfe's bittersweet duet in the middle cottage. Fleeting but poignant spatial alignments marked the distance between the two as they orbited each other or erupted in motion -- fluid swirls of reaching out by the liquid Wolfe and contained searching by the earthier Lavin.

Surprisingly, room was found for cellist Rachel Sexton and viola player Allison Spieth, performing Joel Stein's haunting score.

Some pieces only suggested the topic at hand, such as Lailye Weidman's welcoming solo as a bird let loose from its perch in a Victorian bird cage-cum-chair. Others more directly illustrated the search for satisfaction to hilarious effect.

Such was the case with "The Hot Tub Dance," an object lesson on the maxim that men don't like to ask for directions. Turning to the semaphoric language of aircraft landing signals and highly animated facial expressions, a submerged Caitlin Brewer and Waewdao Sirisook silently mimed the patient and at times horrified task of counseling an anatomically clueless lover.

Yet Suarez and the cast, listed as collaborators in the program, never resorted to salacious titillation or even nudity. Instead, using allusive and euphemistic gestures, they traversed an emotional terrain of expectation, vulnerability, embarrassment and, finally, in the third cottage, the fulfillment of sexual excitation.

More entertaining than polemical, "Wet Spots" nevertheless confirmed that women do indeed know what is best for themselves. Exemplifying a DIY resourcefulness, Suarez, Kai Hazelwood, Pat Payne and April Rose enthusiastically jerked and jolted in pulsating unison in "The Dance of the Vibrators," a play on both apparatus and gratified user.

Hazelwood and Rose (a tulle-wrapped orgasm fairy) returned for the lively climax, which involved a tangle of limbs atop a bed and stories of "first times." Suarez and cohorts pulled out all the stops on the physical puns, with Hazelwood literally winding up Wilson, then sending her spinning.

After the cork was popped -- off a bottle of champagne, that is -- the audience met the Orgasmic Advisor (Payne), who fielded questions before turning them out into the night, armed with anatomically correct gingerbread people.

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