Litvak Dance may be a newborn, but there were no tentative baby steps in the repertory company’s sold-out debut concert last weekend. Litvak exploded onto the stage at UCSD’s Molli and Arthur Wagner Theatre with assured dancers performing work by four choreographers, shifting deftly between styles. And the closing piece by artistic director Sadie Weinberg was so glorious and theatrical, it begs to be shown on a larger stage.
The Live Arts Fest put on by Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater is truly a shoestring event—on Saturday, Isaacs was working as a stagehand, handling props. So it’s all the more remarkable that the ten-day festival offered a rich palette of work by international artists, including Christine Dakin, longtime principal with the Martha Graham Dance Company, doing Graham’s legendary solo, “Cante Jondo.”
“Schrekstoff” offered much to appreciate: clarity, humor, and strong performances by a five-member ensemble. But Lavina Rich warned the audience beforehand that we might get scared. I wish. The only emotion I felt was humor.
Watching “Coop,” the piece by somebodies dance theater that kicked off the Live Arts Fest on Friday, felt like having a deliciously wacky dream. The evening-length work proceeded by a free-associative logic and offered moments of sublime dance.
As Albrecht’s deception was revealed, Breschi squirmed with a delicious caddishness I hadn’t seen in this role. And when he got on his knees and begged Giselle’s mother (Kimberly Roberts) for forgiveness, wow! She rebuked him with such sharp gestures, I thought she was going to rip him limb from limb—and I hated Albrecht so much, I wanted her to do it.
Judges and two audiences awarded prizes in three categories. Unlike previous years, there were no hip hop armies charging forward. Instead, dances blasted the senses with dramatic ensembles, angry fists, and quirky theater. And love.