Bigger is (mostly) better

Pub date October 17, 2007
SectionArts & CultureSectionDance

REVIEW Moving from the small ODC Theater to the much larger Kanbar Hall of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco seems to have been a good idea for Benjamin Levy’s LEVYdance. At the opening of its home season Oct. 12, a large crowd seemed curious to see what else the young choreographer has in his palette. The good news is that Levy has no intention of repeating himself. The two world premieres, Nu Nu and Bone Lines, showed him stepping outside his previously hyperkinetic fierceness and embracing a more imagistic approach to dance making. Nu Nu is a candy-colored romp for four dancers set to music by rapper Fabolous, jazz singer Peggy Lee, and British songstress Anita Harris. The more ambitious Bone Lines, however, looked curiously unfocused; it didn’t sustain itself, Colleen Quan’s transparent and fragmented costumes notwithstanding.

Nu Nu‘s fast-paced mix of clowning, glamour-puss posing, and blossoming and breaking relationships was clever, smartly paced, and unpretentious.

Oral imagery permeated Bone Lines, which suggests a physical though inchoate passing of knowledge from one body to another. The piece examines Levy’s relationship with his immigrant parents; he seems much more interested in the process of his absorbing that knowledge — fragmentarily, unconsciously — than in any specific facts. The music and sets were strong, and so were recurring motifs of connectedness, but structurally, Bone Lines felt shadowy.