Dance review: 8 Troupes celebrate agility and passion

Los Angeles Times
April 5, 2004 Monday
Home Edition

8 Troupes celebrate agility and passion

by Victoria Looseleaf, Special to The Times

If dancers are the new athletes, there was much to laud in the
strongly performed “Celebration of Dance” on Saturday night at the
Alex Theatre in Glendale. The second annual offering, produced by
Ballet of the Foothills’ Jill Sanzo, showcased eight companies in a
diverse program of mostly new — and engaging — works.

Females dominated, with Djanbazian Dance Company premiering its
powerful “Can Shadows Dance?” Choreographed by Anna Djanbazian, the
opus paid homage to Armenian women brutalized in 1915.

Set to a haunting score by Komitas, seven women in bleach-colored
caftans created tableaux in which chest-pounding angst gave way to
astonishing backbends, and ferocious leapers morphed into crumbled
heaps on the floor. The work ended in silence, a specter of death.

On a different note: Denise Leitner’s new “Pathways #10,” performed
by her company, a Dancer’s Voice, blended quicksilver jazz gyrations,
threaded with high kicks and feral energy, as the female quintet
bobbed to the Creatures’ propulsive score.

Four plucky Bela Fleck arrangements (including some full-tilt Bach)
made the perfect sonic accompaniment to Backhausdance’s latest,
“Sitting on January.” Choreographed by Jennifer Backhaus McIvor, the
work featured six women and a lone male (William Lu), gamboling with
chairs. All sweetness and charm, there was a Paul Taylor feel to the
work, with technical finesse equal to the spirited footwork.

Nuevo flamenco reared its passionate head in Deborah Greenfield’s
new, “Juego Flamenco,” dramatically danced by the choreographer’s
company, Rosa Negra Flamenco. Split kicks, unexpected partnering and
saucy shoulder dips rocked, although Greenfield’s costuming —
unfortunate leggings and tunics for the gals, bland pants and white
shirts over muscle tees for the guys — screamed for help. Even
worse, Greenfield’s solo was overpowered by an onstage pair of
amplified musicians.

Completing the program: the previously reviewed “Light,”
choreographed by San Pedro City Ballet’s Patrick David Bradley; and
Jazz Antiqua Dance and Music Ensemble’s deft performance of Pat
Taylor’s take on excerpts from John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.”

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS