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Night Howl
By Karen Reardanz

[whitespace] Stephen Petronio Company The Electric Company: The Stephen Petronio Company uses movement, music and raw emotion to create inspired and electrifying shows. The company performs at UCSC on Tuesday.

Beatriz Schiller

Breaking Ground:
Ground-breaking Stephen Petronio troupe brings kinetic innovation and style to the world of dance

TAKING DANCE TO ANOTHER REALM has long been the goal of choreographers and dance companies, and the Stephen Petronio Company is no exception. Petronio, the 42-year-old dancer and choreographer, has been heralded by dance critics worldwide as a vanguard of modern dance, taking risks and using innovative techniques, including sound and fashion, for dance pieces that are decidedly modern.

The nine-member company is internationally renowned for risky, sensual and challenging pieces. Petronio's 1997 work Rebourne marked a union of modern dance and modern music with a soundtrack by the not-usually-found-in-the-dance-world Beastie Boys and British singer Sheila Chandra.

The company's newest work, Not Garden, which it performs in Santa Cruz on Tuesday, is as inventively structured as its predecessors and marks the first time Petronio and crew voyage into the world of full-evening productions. A three-tiered event, Not Garden is a loosely based interpretation of Dante's Inferno, featuring speed, aggression and emotions backed with an original score by Stuart Jones and music by Sheila Chandra and Diamanda Galas. The expressive force is further catapulted by visual designs, costuming and lighting that promise to leave audiences nothing short of awe-struck.

The Stephen Petronio Company performs on Tuesday at 8pm at UCSC's Mainstage Theater. Tickets cost $18 and $15, with a limited number of $9 tix for UCSC students. For more info, call 459-2159.

Mono y Mono

It must be really tough to be in a band these days. Seems a good portion of them either are trying to sound just like other bands or are saddled with critics' declarations that they sound like everybody else. The British band Mono is wrestling with that demon right now, and not very successfully.

Mono made a stopover at San Jose's Cactus Club last Sunday on its current tour in support of its debut album, Formica Blues. Now, I'd read the album's reviews likening it to Portishead, Massive Attack and the rest of the Bristol scene, but I'd also heard portions of the album and found that the band indeed used bits and pieces of these influences but created a sound that wasn't a complete carbon copy.

The duo uses snippets of late-'60s-influenced electronics along with lush, swirling beats. While nowhere near unique, the band is trying to narrow down a niche for itself. That niche may be more commercial than experimental, but at least Mono is trying.

The band's live show, however, was less than successful. Muddied by bad sound, poor lighting and lead singer Siobhan De Mare's inane, Spice Girl-infected Cockney patter, the show never managed to capture any of the album's promise. It seemed De Mare and partner Martin Virgo were simply going through the motions, hoping that the pseudo-psychedelic background pictures and their own similarities to successful bands would be enough to carry them through. It wasn't. They ended up sounding complacent, bored and pretentious.

Future Think

Zakir Hussain and Terry Riley perform at UCSC on April 16. ... The Spring Girl Fest gets going on April 19 at Kuumbwa.

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From the April 9-15, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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