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[whitespace] Moving and Storage/Crash, Burn & Die Into the Groove: This weekend, Moving and Storage/Crash, Burn & Die performs a balancing act.

Darryl Ferrucci

Local dance troupes balance surrealism and vibrant movement

By Mary Spicuzza

IT'S SAFE TO SAY that most art hovers somewhere between the real and surreal. But the rebellious folks of Moving and Storage Performance Company/Crash, Burn and Die Dance Company have set their sights on capturing what co-director Therese Adams calls "the super real." The joint company promises to follow its tradition of breaking the rules as it debuts two premiere performances at the Santa Cruz Dance Gallery this weekend.

The company recently received news that it was given a new grant from the Cultural Council, and the classy choreography team of Adams and Leslie Swaha has decided to celebrate in style. Besides mounting two debut pieces and an encore from a recent production, the troupe has invited members of the Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre and Grupo Folklorico Los Mejicas to join in the festivities.

Adams and Swaha's quirky new modern dance piece, Catalina's Back-Up Band, features live music from singer Caitlin Deck, whose own backup crew includes three intricately painted, larger-than-life puppets serving as a jazz trio. Dancer and artist Alex Coveleski created the towering 6-foot-tall human-powered puppets just for the occasion.

"It's a comic piece ... almost cartoonish," Adams says. "With Catalina's, we go for Fellini, but we also go for the contrast to that."

The contrast is clearly the dance company's other premiere: Wine Under, Water Over. Adams declines to discuss the work, except to hint that the mystery piece is surreal in every sense of the word.

The company will also perform a second showing of its hit Daisy Chain East from this summer's New Music Works' Garden Party. The fast-paced modern dance piece is set to In Praise of Johnny Appleseed, a quirky, rarely performed ballet by local legend Lou Harrison. Featuring Cabrillo Music Festival percussionist Ken Piascik fronting a group of live musicians, the accompanying dance promises to reflect the year's worth of sweat and time that's gone into the vibrant, snappy piece.

Knowing that no one is better at keeping up with a nonstop frenzy than teenagers, Adams and Swaha have recruited young dancers from Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre to join in the show. Four members of the studio will perform in Bestiary, a piece choreographed by Swaha in 1982. It was originally designed to be performed along West Cliff Drive from Natural Bridges to the Boardwalk.

"It's allegro, very fast. I think anybody would keel over if they actually tried to make it along the cliffs to the Boardwalk," Adams laughs.

UCSC's Grupo Folklorico Los Mejicas, who will perform dances from the state of Nayarit in Mexico, may seem like an unlikely addition to the evening's modern and ballet focus. But it was fate that drew the group into the show.

"The folklore troupe was practicing in the studio next to ours, and our dancers couldn't keep their eyes off of them. They are incredible," Adams says. "It great to have variety to liven things up and avoid static."

Then again, static isn't really the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Moving and Storage/Crash, Burn and Die. The team has built its reputation on vibrant theatrical and visual dance, plus props and unusual dance surfaces like rolling barrels and moving platforms. Although people may still talk about the Moving and Storage/Crash, Burn and Die performances that involved a 20-foot-high scaffold, the company has moved on to new media.

"I think if I pulled out that scaffold, the dancers would revolt," Adams chuckles. "This show is less an emphasis on props. It's more focused on the dance--the vibrance of moving to music."

Although the show promises a wide range of dance styles, its emphasis on fast-paced, high-energy movement draws them together. As Adams says, "At practices, everybody's faces are bright red by the end of each dance. It's an intense show."

Moving and Storage/Crash, Burn and Die performs Friday and Saturday at 8pm at the SC Dance Gallery, 418 Front St., SC. Tickets cost $12/$10. For info, call 457-1448.

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From the November 19-24, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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