Bowen McCauley Dance/'Lucy's Playlist': Live Last Night

Live Last Night

What's on a choreographer's iPod? A mix of punk rock B-sides, indie pop songs and a 1980s one-hit wonder. That's a typical shuffle mix for Lucy Bowen McCauley, a Northern Virginia-based choreographer who spent her younger years "Rockin' Around in N.Y.C." clubs.

That Marshall Crenshaw song, plus 11 other tunes, made "Lucy's Playlist," an entertaining divertissement that opened Thursday at Signature Theatre. All 100 seats in the Ark were filled to see what the Bowen McCauley Dance company would do with rock and pop selections. When it comes to choreographing to music with lyrics, there's a fine line between free-associating and acknowledging words the audiences hears. It was amusing to see four athletic men shadowbox to Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up," but a little disappointing that no one took a dive in the Swell Season's "Falling Slowly."

(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)

The best numbers paired a clever premise with well-executed movement. In "Southern Girls," four bikini-clad dancers managed to arabesque penchée in flip-flops. Bowen McCauley herself made a surprise, uncredited appearance in the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated." Her guise: a Cancun tourist boogieing around on crutches.

There wasn't a clunker on the list, although a few pieces would have benefited from the fast-forward button. The Ark is only 12 yards wide. Subtract eight feet for light fixtures, and you're left with a smallish dance space. The women could throw decent turns, but the men rarely gained momentum. Power chords should beget more powerful movement. While it's cool that Signature shared its space, eight dancers need a little more room to rock.

This performance repeats with a gala Saturday night and a matinee on Sunday.

--REBECCA J. RITZEL

By David Malitz |  June 12, 2009; 9:02 PM ET Live Last Night
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