The narrative impulse is alive and well, thanks to Loyola Marymount University, which, for the third consecutive year, has sponsored a project called “Story Dancing in the 21st Century.”

In fact, local choreographers took so much creative stimulation from this nudge toward tale-telling that their collected works--seen Friday at the Westchester campus--made one regret a single, disproportionately long, ethnic extravaganza that hardly fit the program specifications.

But Three’s Company, composed of Jean Isaacs, Kate Harrison and Nancy McCaleb, piqued the imagination with an ingeniously surreal “Daughters of the American Revolution.” Not only did the piece brim with satiric ideas on the subject of women and their sociopolitical identities, but the pictorial-aural mode of these ideas was provocative in its own right.

Billowing white sheets on a clothesline take the form of gowns inhabited by three ladies who lunch later on blood-red berries that stain a white cloth. Daubs of blue are added to it and lo, the American flag: their shroud. Not all the symbolism is clear, but the feminine quandary blooms under this black flower of patriotism.


Lighter in tone, Young-Ae Park’s “The Heist” seemed like a parody of the Pink Panther kind. Its Latin jazz and related back-beat music made an apt background for the sardonic dance numbers woven into a scenario about stealing chic mannequins. In the punch line they come to life and commit their own crimes.

Joltingly out of context was Gema Sandoval’s “From Aztec to Modern,” an overextended suite that featured everything from feathers and tom-toms to elaborate spectacle to the tongue-rolling cries and whistles of smiling village folk.