The Desire Line

Painting, poetry, and dance don't make a satisfying whole in this case

Deborah Slater Dance Theater's latest multimedia offering is the third in a trilogy of works inspired by the paintings of Alan Feltus. The idea is intriguing, and the talents of the many collaborators Slater has assembled are unmistakable, but this hour-long piece ultimately doesn't build to a satisfying whole. Part of the problem is that the paintings themselves are projected so far up and so far back onstage that they come across as backdrop, and not as integral to the movement of the seven dancers below them. Other elements also fail to increase our emotional connection to what we're seeing on stage. For example, the poems of Jaime Jacinto are lovely but often so broad and ephemeral that they lead us into mulling over the words rather than drawing us into what is happening right before our eyes. This is a shame, because Slater's company creates some real moments of beauty from Feltus' paintings, such as a powerful duet between Kerry Mehling and Shannon Preto. But this latest work doesn't reach the point where it rises above being a decent dance piece to become a theatrical experience we have truly never seen before. Molly Rhodes


Through May 13. Tickets are $18-20; call 273-4633 or visit
Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St. (at Mission), S.F.

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