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Moving Around in Search of Their Place in the Sun

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The appearance of the words “organic” and “stream of consciousness” in the program notes give a clue to what you will see in dancer-choreographer Ilaan Egeland’s hourlong piece ". . . in one day,” currently at Highways in Santa Monica. It means that a dreamy, loose-limbed sense of flow and flinging pervades the dancing of Egeland, Erin Carper and Susan Goldberg. And that guitars, tambourine, rattled gourds and lilting voices make up the toe-tapping, folk-tinged music, nicely played onstage by Bright Blue Gorilla (Michael Glover and Robyn Rosenkrantz).

The Saturday night performance by Egeland’s new company, called (ie)dance, was a result of her collaborative, workshop method, which in this case has turned personal musings into a sort of New Age hootenanny--as sweet, lyrical and heartfelt as you might imagine that to be. There’s even a final scene in which the audience is encouraged to get up and dance, harking back to the “let the sunshine in” ending of “Hair.”

Co-directed by Che’Rae Adams, who also served as dramaturge, the piece is full of sunny affirmations. The smiling optimism of the performers’ faces is put on hold only occasionally, as their supple spines restlessly react to thoughts they sometimes share--about fights with boyfriends, mood swings, memories. Projected and sung lyrics range from the opening command to turn off your electrical appliances and “turn on your inner vision,” to the revelation that “love goes round and round.”

And did they really don mouse ears and warn us to “beware the wolves of Hollywood”?

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The dancers are musical movers who sometimes sing and often gesture and dance in a way that people do when bodily working through issues in rehearsal or a therapeutic setting. The song lyric “skin is for kissing,” for instance, motivates them to caress their bare arms and mouths, and when one dancer is obsessing (repeating text and movements), she is rescued with a sheltering hug.

Great for healing, life-affirming workshops, but in theatrical terms, the journey can be oddly uneventful.

* Ilaan Egeland’s (ie)dance in ". . . in one day,” Highways, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica, today and Saturday, 8:30 p.m. $13-$15. (310) 470-9655.


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