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Dance review: Catch Me Bird at the Ford Amphitheatre

August 15, 2010 | 12:00 pm

CatchMeBird Where is Snooki when you really need her?  Seriously, it's bad enough that reality TV has seemingly taken over the airwaves, but must it seep onto the stage, as well?  In an ego-driven, rudderless theatrical offering ripped from the headlines of their own misguided minds, the husband-and-wife team C. Derrick Jones and Nehara Kalev -- the dancers known as Catch Me Bird --- presented a shambles of a show Friday at the Ford Amphitheatre.

Dubbed “Iron,” the element associated with the sixth year of marriage, the two-hour premiere featured incessant blathering, uninspired contact improvisational segments, Sara Stranovsky singing horribly off-key, composer Ry Welch quasi-rapping, and, well, the list goes on.  Oh, yes, there were several Catch Me Bird signature aerial numbers, but even those felt like reruns.

The Champagne bubbles have fizzled.  Having exchanged wedding vows in midair in 2004 as part of a dance-theater performance, the pair has continued to mine their relationship for art in a series of so-called reality concerts.  At this point, however, a marriage counselor seems to be in order -- or, at the very least, a director, choreographer and script doctor.

Credit them with guts, though, as during the opening sequence, the light-festooned pair dangled in the dark from each of two 60-foot proscenium towers that frame the Ford stage.  But for them to get out of their Spider-Man gear and into more comfy clothes, they needed time -- and video filler. In the first of many split-screen images, Jones and Kalev spouted existential musings (“Optimism is not optimism but fantasy…”) before taking to the air again.

CatchFordWearing harnesses and suspended by a rope, they floated, missionary style, with Jones on top.  During this Houdini-esque bit, they spun, they posed, they rose, they kissed, until they eventually touched ground, after which more videos (yawn) were shown. With the set representing rooms in a house, there were kitchen and bathroom scenes wherein the couple continued yammering -- about the Iraq war, gay marriage, polar bears drowning. They also fiddled with pots and pans in a prelude to exchanging anniversary gifts, all made out of iron, when irony would have been preferable. The amateurish act ended with a trio playing live music that smacked of bad jazz.

After intermission, Jones and Kalev, again airborne, twirled in two interlocking rings, before guest artists arrived: Crystal and David Zibalese moved around and on top of a table and chairs; Rachael Lincoln and Mark Stuver, in their own choreography, rappelled down a tower while talking; and six couples dragged themselves onstage to participate in a faux dance marathon. The final number featured Jones and Kalev reprising their aerial “love-knot” dance but now in silhouette.

How this show got green-lighted is a mystery.  The couple would be wise to call in a fertility specialist for next year's edition, “Conception."

-- Victoria Looseleaf

Photos: Catch Me Bird at the Ford Amphitheatre. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times


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