The discordant tones in the tender new Duet for the tall Weare and the tiny Leslie Kraus were hardly noticeable, but they were there. The second premiere, Trio, started in a silly, teenybopper mode (hops in unison, wiggled butts, flipped skirts, belly pats). But almost imperceptibly, the game turned nasty as one of the girls became the victim of a vicious play for dominance so vicious it got to the point at which it was almost hard to watch. Weare should try tackling larger forms.
WestWave's second set of programs offered a mixed repertoire of four approaches to dance: ballet, international, dance theater, and modern. The genres were loosely interpreted; nevertheless, they offered a pleasing, shape-giving frame to each evening's quintet of works.
Setting his lovely In Fugue on five men and two women allowed Mark Foehringer to reverse common gender relationships. For once, the men starred, and the women supported. Though it started on a strutting, macho note, the piece quickly shifted to a mode of congenial partnering between equals, reminding us that men elegantly dancing with one another is common in many parts of the world. Also intriguing were Christian Burns whipping through seductive yet artificial beauty in Beneath Your Sheltering Hand; Kerry Mehling's fiercely combative duet, Are You Emotionally Involved; and Stacey Printz's spatially and emotionally nuanced Birds, Bees and Other Metaphors. The collaboration between video artist Austin Forbord and Brittany Brown Ceres, Corps de Co., resulted in a virtuosic and cheeky game about speed, scale, and timing.
Now for the bad news. WestWave's budget was so tight this year that the festival could not pay any of the dancers. (Previously, participants shared the house.) Once again, it's the artists who are the biggest supporters of the arts. Also, fest producer Lazarus has had it; she quit. Is she tired of dance? Of course not. Is she sick of fighting the money battle? You bet. One doesn't like to think it, but if WestWave should fold for financial reasons, summers in San Francisco will be ever drearier than they so often already are. *