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American Dance Guild Presents.

One suspects what turns out to be true; the eight dances by six choreographers on the American Dance Guild's first adjudicated showcase were selected from videotaped. The forty-year-old Guild has its aesthetic roots plated firmly in pre-postmodern dance, where time separates live moving images, usually on a stage. Video - and the impatience it has engendered in our sensibilities - is about speedy impact, discontinuity, instantaneous gratification. The frenetic quality of the chosen dances may make arresting video, but what grabs your attention on the small screen doesn't necessarily translate to live performance.

As if trying to foil a video channelzapper, the dances are in a hurry. Though motion is virtually nonstop, almost no one modulates their dynamics into a progressive sequence that takes us on an imagistic journey. Only Mary Ford's otherwise histrionic solo Out of the Lips of Silence risks stillness, and only at the very end, when she stands in fading light, after being outmatched by her vibrant Henryk Gorecki score.

To her own and Eric Helmuth's score of breathy sobs and percussion, Tamara Stronach frames her Touchwood with a woman, aloft, walking along the shoulders of her four colleagues. But the core of the dance is a flurry of fluid, fleeting encounters that neither thematically nor expressively elucidate the striking opening and closing image. Except for a stormy central duet, Ann Biddle's Restoring an Eclipsed Moon remains a restless monotone; its repetitive gestural motifs, based on Native American sign language, never become visceral. Glen Velez's percussion score drives Tina Croll alternately to fretfulness, agitation, and assertiveness in her engaging miniature Solo. Her duet, Walkabout, is an assemblage of walking and running patterns to lively John Cage music that merely exhausts its two dancers.

Diminutive Mitzi Adams is excitingly risky, clambering over her partner, versatile Eddie Taketa, balanced on a stepladder, or throwing herself trustingly into his not-obviously-waiting arms. Their scrappy physical tussle in her Colors May Bleed beautifully reflects the emotional tug-of-war between two disparate souls.

And Charlotte Boye Christensen has a choreographic knack that transcends medium. Siesta is a hilariously understated trio that reanimates the music of Bizet's war-hose Carmen. the women in black march in solemn unison, darting momentarily into squiggly digressions. They tangle themselves into composite knots that explore unprredictable kinetic consequences of unlikely physical impulses. Rhythmic Cinderella, in the 1957 version made for CBS-TV by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, is rarely seen live in the musical theater and was especially lovely in performances by the New York City Opera (New York State Theater, November 9-19, 1995). Directed and choreographed by Robert Johanson, the production was filled with stars both familiar and new. Movie and stage songstress Jane Powell was endearing as the Queen and royal homemaker, with george S. Irving as the King, All in the Family's Jean Stapleton was anything but a "dingbat" as the Stepmother, frazzled but the vulgarity of her odious daughters, portrayed by Alix Korey and Jeanette Palmer. Sally Ann Howes delivered vocal magic as Fairy Godmother to Cinderella, Rebecca Baxter, and her Prince, George Dvorsky.

Johanson and co-choreographer Sharon Halley made dancing the central vehicle for the tale's enchantment. Unearthly beings on pointe changed the scullery maid's rags into shimmering ballroom attire. Irina Dvorovenko made her debut with the company as the Tiara Fairy, who crowns Cinderella at the moment of transformation. The swirling dances at the ball framed the handsome pair as they fell in love, and Andrew Pacho (Dog) and Debbi Fuhrman (Cat), from Antigravity Dance Company, profinesse, whimsy, and a gift for conciseness make Christensen's dance images delightfully unique on videotape, onstage, or wherever they're seen
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Title Annotation:Merce Cunningham Studio, New York, NY
Author:Solomons, Gus
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Feb 1, 1996
Previous Article:North Carolina Dance Theatre.
Next Article:San Francisco Ballet.

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