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DANCE REVIEW : Snazzy Moves Amid the Melodrama

Jazz Dancers, Inc.'s Dennon and Sayhber Rawles offer some pretty snazzy jazz dancing, but they tend to get in their own way. Their concert Friday at Loyola Marymount was no exception.

In a mixed bill of new and familiar dances, the seven-woman, two-man troupe alternated between clearheaded, ably-danced choreography and cloying theatricality.

In “Tribute to Brubeck” (1979, updated), the ensemble took off with showy moves in an aptly asymmetrical choreography. But in “Dream Time” (1989), the dancing went heavy on the hair-tossing and light on the choreographic ingenuity, although the number did benefit from the accompaniment of composer Randy Strom (who played the Chapman stick, an electronic string instrument), cellist Daniel Ross Bortz and percussionist Brad Dutz.

The crowd-pleasing “Tango Apasionado” (1987/89) stood out because it offered a chance to see the Rawles at their most electric: in a precisely partnered duet, full of dramatic lunges and lifts.

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The last 30 minutes of the bill were devoted to a work-in-progress called “Inside Looking Out,” a suite still in need of time at the drawing board. Moving in the direction of dance-theater--with the saccharine story of an old woman who watches and joins in the antics of the young folks outside in the park--the choreographers have, unfortunately, nearly eliminated the dancing to make room for the melodrama.

Performances continue June 15 and 16.


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