L.A. again celebrates fine feats of feet

Special to the Times

From extreme yoga and power pirouetting to lush lyricism and bawdy Brazilian samba, Spectrum Dance in L.A. #17 once again proved that this town's dance scene sparkles with choreographic bling bling. Produced by Daisy Kim and Deborah Brockus and her Brockus Project Dance Company, Sunday night's slate of 16 choreographers mostly got down and a little dirty with old and new works.

Solos of various stripes were particularly captivating: A statuesque Tekla Kostek, her impossibly long legs floating from high kicks into splits, was like a child experimenting with movement in Stefan Wenta's new ballet, "Arabesque." Elizabeth Hoefner performed her new "Selective Amnesia," in which a brutal techno track bumped up against mystical choral music as the dancer's fierce arm gestures, keeping troubles at bay, segued into a series of precise spins.

"Improv," a premiere, had choreographer Hiroshi Hamanishi in high-concept tap mode, with the foot quicker than the eye in an a cappella rhythmic tour de force. Candy Olsen executed an array of inviting turns in Allan McCormick's new "Song for a Winter's Night," while a goddess-like Paula Present offered her work-in-progress, "The Unfolding," punctuated by outstretched arms and languid backbends. Leann Alduenda gave melodramatic life to Janell Burgess' new "Fields and Foothills," in which layers of clothing were stretched out over her body and then stripped off as if she were shedding a painful love.

Potent duets were appealing as well: "While You Are Sleeping," Nina McNeely's latest, featured her and Darren Paige as wind-up dolls. Alternately gentle and cocky, this pas de deux showcased deft partnering, as did Brockus' "Love Duet" from 2001's "Quest," with Ruby Karen and Miguel Banket a felicitous pairing.

Inspired trios included Shirley Martin's "VA," a work-in-progress with live percussion (Howard Bourgeois) and three feral women committing a series of combat-ready yoga postures. "Richie Sticks," choreographed by Carlos Jones, featured choreographer Terrica Banks and Ronaldo Bowins in a 1999 jitterbugging jazz number reminiscent of Harlem's Cotton Club.

"Sambalaya," Dani Lunn and Ira MacAlliley's premiere, was a raucous Brazilian carnival-like feast that brought down the house. Ditto Bob Boross' new group effort, "Lonesome Day," with Daren Herbert as an able cross-wielding preacher. The house remained intact, however, with Alicia M. Vaca's hanky-flailing folklorico piece, "Guerrero." Works by Hilary Thomas, Laurie Cameron and Michael Menna completed the program.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World