The 15-year-old dance company BodyVox first appeared at Annenberg Center in 2001. This is the group's fifth visit as one of the Dance Celebration series' favorites - and one of mine, as well.
BodyVox, based in Portland, Ore., is a winsome company of a dozen top-tier dancers. Artistic directors Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland, both of whom dance in the company, are alums of Momix and Pilobolus. That heritage shows best in certain sections of their eight-part paean to films and filmmaking, The Cutting Room, which the two conceived and choreographed. It opened Thursday for this weekend run.
On film and in person, Jonathan Krebs (in a jogging outfit) chased Hampton (in suit and tie) throughout the show, crashing through screens to try to snatch back a mysterious canister of film - the MacGuffin that ties the often-unrelated sections together. The conceit bought time for costume changes. But some of the attention put into this running gag could have been better used to beef up the choreography.
Big dance scenes in contemporary costume dramas tend to be choreographed more for the modern eye. So it was with the first section, "Historical Fiction," to a Mozart suite. Pregnant pauses and hands flexed Egyptian-style added wit to its foppery and courtliness, but it didn't live up to those grand ballroom scenes.
"Documentary" had David Attenborough's "Vampire Squid" narration, and its choreography delivered the most Momix-y moments. In shimmering bodysuits, 10 dancers permutated in fancy, often beautiful, squidlike squirming. Three dancers pulled the others off stage as if they were one undulating sheet of seaweed.
A bluesy rendition of an operatic aria set a sexy tone for the '50s-era "Screen Kiss." "Sci-Fi" riffed on the scene in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey when the computer HAL is decommissioned; it had the troupe again in spacy bodysuits, a requisite for flotation in sea or ether. They pulled off an inventive gravitational bit by placing straps under one dancer and floating him around between them.
"Americana," set to the bluegrass music of Ralph Stanley, had some fine moments of clogging and legs expertly swinging out from immobile torsos.
Despite the gorgeous bare torsos of the men in "Bollywood," I wouldn't have minded if it and "Chase" were left on the cutting-room floor.