‘Hysterica’ shows its rough edges

Times Staff Writer

More than half of the nine new works danced in the “Hysterica + Friends Not Foes” program Thursday at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica looked half-baked. Workshop ideas in need of development and refinement, they simply stopped, mercifully short in most cases, rather than coming to a definite end.

Ryan Heffington’s “Unisewn,” which opened the program, was one of the exceptions. A tight, sexy mirror duet between Heffington and Nancy Anderson, set to music by Bjork, “Unisewn” relied on the simple metaphor of the dancers’ sewing invisible thread through their bodies to show them connecting and drawing closer. Pushing an imaginary needle and thread through some of their body parts suggested this was not altogether a painless process.

Kristin Lemberg’s solo, “nil/tv,” was witty, comical and scary, a TV addict’s enslavement and liberation through the boob tube. Entering the space nervously until she plugged in a small television set, Lemberg progressively grew freer, bolder and more energized as music by the Men of Porn -- revved up through an amplification system beyond what a small TV set could put out -- pulsated through her twitchy body. After getting her fix, she was able to calm down and turn the set off.

“Victorious,” choreographed by Hysterica founder and artistic director Kitty McNamee, wasn’t entirely a victory. But it gave dancers Mecca Andrews, Scott Hislop, Nina McNeely and Tara Nicole interesting things to do, pairing them in various fluid ways and suggesting a cyclical sequence of partnering that had more to do with availability than individuality.


The work was danced to original music by Anna Clyne, with an industrial track provided by Chris Clark.

Bubba Carr’s solo “APNM,” to music by aphex twin, was even less clear. Who was the blindfolded figure -- a tortured prisoner or trapped superhero? Why did he remove the blindfold and why did he wait so long when there was no obstacle to doing so? No answers, but Sal Vassallo danced the work strongly.

Works previously reviewed completed the program.