Mostly warm performances took the chill out of
Compiled from staff reports
Friday, February 4, 2000
A minimally heated Texas School for the Deaf Auditorium
awaited audiences for the second annual Austin DanceFest last
week. The cold was not beside the point, since 65 degrees
Fahrenheit is the standard lowest temperature safe for
dancing, due to the potential for injuries.
The New Choreographers Showcase on opening night rapidly
warmed the chilly auditorium. Dawnerin Larrimore's image-laden
``Shiver'' and ``Desensitize'' injected a rush
of adrenaline. Jenna Weikerth's ``Communication Breakdown''
nicely paired two sets of dancers in contrasting movement.
Melissa Santos' exquisite, close-to-the-floor ``Solitude''
isolated parts of her body, and it was performed until the
final moment with her back to the audience. Allison Orr
commenced ``Shoe Dance'' with humorous, bent-over
locutions, but interest lagged during the final minutes while
she sorted three piles of shoes.
Dawn Davis is a fresh, clever dance-maker whose
``How to Choreograph'' manipulated the hokeypokey.
Then ``Silver Butterflies'' and ``Work''
demonstrated Davis' control of discrete groupings. Rebekah
Davidson's elegant ``In Soundless Response'' laced
together gorgeous patterns, but her fine dance was undermined,
ironically, by poor sound quality.
The most sophisticated entry on the program was Outside the
Box's ``Play,'' with its constantly elaborated
variations on club dancing. After an awkward introduction,
Laura Cannon's ``Inauguration at the Edge of a Cliff''
gracefully staged a multitude of disconnected,
-- Michael Barnes
Effortlessly charming, the Austin Scottish Country
Dancers marched onstage to the sound of bagpipes, then
jigged, reeled and waltzed to traditional-sounding music.
Margery Segal divided ``Baby--Baby--Baby'' into three
sections: Playing on the sound of the word ``baby,'' then
noiselessly expressing emotion that approximated (to me)
wonder, then reading a very long monologue about the first,
troubled days of her newborn.
The Sumi Komo Dance Troupe, new to Austin, performed
``Inanna Mysteries,'' which appeared to be variations
on ritual dancing, accompanied by singing and live
instrumentation. The Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company devoted
tremendous care to two dances, ``From Then Until Now''
and ``So Close,'' both quite lovely, gentle and
Performers from Sharir + Bustamante Danceworks revived
portions of Jos Bustamante's poignant ``Entre Lo Que Me
Quieres y Te Quiero,'' based on the writing of Federico
Garcia Lorca. I saw this haunting dance previously, and was
required to review an event across town, and so I departed.
That meant I missed Stillpoint Dance's ``Shadowing Profound
Doubts,'' performed in memory of company member Tamara
Barrington, who died Jan. 21 in an auto accident. Festival
producer Chris Valentine reported that it was executed
``without any changes in choreography, and every once and a
while, you could see glimpses of where (Barrington) was
supposed to be."
-- Michael Barnes
As if her movements were telling a secret that would change
the destiny of humankind, Anuradha Naimpally commanded the
stage with ``Dance of Joy,'' ``Invocation for Peace''
and ``Tillana,'' a spiritually seductive rendition
of Bharata Natyam Indian dance.
Demure yet potent best describes the Austin Dance
Ensemble's ``Selection From Voices Centered,'' created
by Arletta Howard-Logan and danced with precision by a small
Ballet East mixed digeridoo music with dancers, dressed in
ripped Tarzan outfits, who heaved and grunted.
``Encantada,'' created by Max Luna III, did little to
honor aboriginal tribes. As expected, Kinesis Dance Theatre
Project rose to its reputation as one of the city's most
socially active dance companies in its gender-bending ``In the
the . . . .'' A comedic yet profound look at perceptions of
men and women, the performance exuded creativity in the name
of social justice.
Heloise Gold and Friends' ``Dreamtime'' fell
somewhat short of achieving its goal of marrying poetry and
movement. Gold and partner Mike Arnold spent too much time
posing instead of portraying the poet's message. A rather
bizarre closing act from Ballet Austin featured impeccable
dancing, atrocious costumes and rather one-dimensional
choreography. ``Five Flights Up,'' made by Stephen
Mills, reached a quick crescendo with its impressive lifts,
yet failed to develop.
-- Kendall Klym
The Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance troupe offered a mix of
folk dance, pantomime and live music to open the show. Rut
Gonzales showed her versatility by singing as well as dancing,
in ``Bailes de las Monta as,'' a series of
peasant dances and music from 17th-century Puerto Rico.
Swingtips, a lindy hop group, made its DanceFest debut
in an upbeat, fun exhibition of jazzy footwork and aerial
moves. The dancers -- young, exuberant and athletic -- heated
up the stage with nonstop moves. Kevin Greene's loose-limbed
jauntiness and Evita Acre's sultry wiggles caught my eye.
Dance International, another festival newcomer, offered a
glimpse of American ballroom dance in ``American
Rhapsody.'' Sabrina Barker and Stewart Yaros led the
long-limbed ensemble through perky displays of waltzes,
Charleston and swing, all executed with polish and style.
Roy Lozano's Ballet Folklorico de Texas presented
crowd-pleasing regional dances of Mexico, while the Irish
Dance Company provided a display of Irish stepdancing to
bring the performance to a rousing close.
-- Sondra Lomax