I LAND

Critical Ballet - Dance Magazine

Monday, May 2, 2009
'I Land'
by Carmel Morgan

Keo Woolford is the kind of natural mover who can ingest and spit back any dance style. His 80-minute one-man show, "I Land," used this to great advantage in taking the audience on a journey through his life Saturday at Dance Place.

With dance and speech, this talented Hawaiian-born artist told of learning traditional dance as a teenager, break-dancing in Honolulu clubs, joining a boy band, slipping into drug addiction in Los Angeles, seeking religious redemption, dancing in a cheesy Honolulu tourist show and, finally, returning to traditional Hawaiian hula. There is a gracefulness of spirit in this conclusion, with hula's discipline, language and manliness restoring his identity.

There is no question that Woolford is talented. He's a good-looking charmer with a silver tongue and a heavy heart. He changes rapidly between dance styles and acquits himself superbly in each. He tells his story in 20 or so vignettes with such names as "The Hula Pageant," "The Audition" and "Wasted." He is a great raconteur, telling us his story through amusing anecdotes and occasionally bringing the audience into the experience, including once when he breaks down in drug-addicted despair and at the end when he performs a traditional hula with calm and dignity. The direction by Roberta Uno and choreography by Robert Cazimero and Rokafella are first rate.

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