Theater archives

Coast to Coast


Start with a base of Tango Argentino, add elements from A Chorus Line and a dash of Pina Bausch, shake, and you might get Kun Yang Lin’s Shall We . . . ? Members of the Mary Anthony Dance Theatre (Riverside Church, December) performed its New York premiere with their customary ebullience and skill. What fun to see these artists step out of Anthony’s pristinely controlled, archetypal world of modern dance and go a little crazy! Lin’s work tilted toward wit, but lacked a readable coherence or true freshness. Perhaps a clue to his good intentions lurked in a tango lyric about becoming “food for the maggots.” These sleek, beautiful bodies, their passions and earthy dramas—all impermanent—seem both absurd and crucial in the face of inevitable death. Dance, then, is life compressed and hot. Keep dancing! —Eva Yaa Asantewaa

San Diego Dance Theater (Danspace Project, December) has the bold, witty warmth of a smart woman—Jean Isaacs, its director and longtime guiding force. She encourages young choreographers like Monica Bill Barnes (whose Leave It on the Field had a punch-drunk cheerleader reeling in Cal football spirit) and Rui Horta (whose unfocused Object Constant set seven dancers against an outcast). But the heart of the company is Isaacs’s own work. In Holding On/Letting Go, Alison Dietterle and Faith Jensen-Ismay took on the glowing curved lines of Marin Marais’s violas da gamba; a solo for Katie Stevinson was as taut and mournful as a slowly bowed string. A Geography of Risk, set to spoken excerpts from travel guidebooks, was a little masterpiece. Dense with dramatic symbols, its headlong duets and clear massed dances snapped like rubber bands—fun, delicate, dangerous—while exploring terrain from mountain streams to marriage. —Alicia Mosier