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Albany Berkshire Ballet.

As the exclmatory mark in the title indicates, Charles Moulton's ZTXYS(?!) is punctuated with physical expletives that gush and slither. It's both provocative and alienating. Dancers rush headlong toward the audience on narrow paths that never cross; they reach out, then peel backward headfirst as singer P. M. Dawn chants, "What does it feel like to be a paper doll?"

The bluesy rhythm and steady rap of the music act as a sexy tranquilizer for the nervous group: Bill Cooley, Laura Doughty, Daphne Vitolins, and Steven Lumadue are drawn together, squiggling and pawing, tantalizing each other - but never looking at each other. in the midst of this hands-off foreplay the bubble bursts, and the dancers separate.

Moulton plays attractions and oppositions deftly. The dancers' hands join in a delicate line dance on demipointe, four Graces in black swim trunks. Moulton stops the movement of three and isolates Doughty in a prison of light to scribble the air with elbows and wrists. He rounds them up to wave their arms wildly, like snakes on Medusa's head, and then makes them careen, each landing followed by an eruption that mushrooms dancers up and floats them away.

The second section is a solo, danced by Lumadue to an aria from Puccini's Madama Butterfly. He stands in one place, torso and arms embracing the soprano's surging lament. Struggling to connect to the disembodied voice, he becomes the emotional embodiment of the music. The third and last section returns to "Paper Doll" and the frenzied-but unconnected-squirming of the first section. And suddenly we see the subtext: the individual, forever alone.

This isn't Moulton's ball-passing or song-and-tap dancing but a new expressivity that flows from Mindy, which he made for the company last year: a surreal nightmare in which a wide-eyed somnambulist in white gown and sweat socks tiptoes aimlessly, propelled by a horrific vision.

ZTXYS(?!) is more musical, fluid, and structurally evocative. Here there are no nightmares, only the presence, perhaps, of a slow-growing virus that eradicates the capacity for human contact.

On the same program, put together by artistic director Madeline Cantarella Culpo, was Philip Jerry's 1991 Our Town and the the premieres of Mary Giannone's Temple Caves and Laura Dean's Night Wind, the latter a repeat-except for the color of the costumes-of Arrow of Time, which she made for the troupe last year.
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Title Annotation:The Empire Center at the Egg, Albany, New York
Author:Hill, Constance Valis
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Feb 1, 1994
Previous Article:The Sleeping Beauty.
Next Article:Metropolitan Ballet Theatre.

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