Review: “Stardust” by David Rousseve

From "Stardust." Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.
From “Stardust.” Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.

David Rousseve’s dance “Stardust” is a gorgeous and poetic meditation on human ugliness. It is at times otherworldly, and yet deals in stark detail with some of humanity’s darkest failings. It is a dance of the 21st century: with a textual narration that appears on the backdrop as Tweets from the main character, Junior (who is never seen); with mystical video art, including shooting stars and a soaring dove (by Cari Ann Shim Sham*); and an ironically low-tech-looking giant cell phone, from which Junior’s grandfather contacts him in his dreams via Skype.

“Stardust” had its premiere one year ago at REDCAT, and, happily, it was performed again by the choreographer’s 10-member company, Reality, at the Carpenter Center at Cal State Long Beach on Saturday night (Sept. 27). The work’s themes and language are raw and profane, and there was a small but steady exodus among some of the theater’s patrons. But what Rousseve has really captured is Junior’s “righteous” and “pure” spirit through certain repeated phrases of smoothly flowing movement. Like a river full with snow melt, the dancers course about the stage, spinning, stretching, and leaping, pushed along, but not roughly. It’s a peaceful dance-language, despite the fact that Junior finds no peace in his lifetime. Yet, “Stardust” still manages to project hopefulness.

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