Artistry a hard act to follow

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 June, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 June, 1994, 12:00am

PITY the act that has to follow this one. Comparisons will be irresistible and they are not likely to be flattering - but then how do you compete with a modern dance company which exhausts superlatives and leaves audiences stupefied with delight? Last night's audience didn't take long to recover. As the curtain fell on Night Thoughts , dancing to the haunting voices of the Bulgarian National Women's Radio and Television Choir, the packed house exploded with tumultuous applause.

This was ISO Dance at its most ethereal and inventive, blending dance, acrobatics and the mesmerising sight of angels swooping through the air. There was no mystery about how they did it, yet disbelief was suspended. That's what real artistry does to you.

Real humour also connects with the same immediacy and there was plenty of it. You think Jackie Chan has the goods on comedy kung fu? See ISO's outrageous spoof on martial arts and you may revise your opinion.

There is no easy category for this American company, which has appeared in the shows of fashion iconoclast Issey Miyake, has pop idols lining up for its services in music videos and can boast five Emmy awards.

No two works are similar and the range, from the frisky I Do to the deliciously erotic Parlour Dance - the latter an unexpected bonus last night - is simply astounding.

That's largely because four immensely gifted artists form the core of ISO: founding dancer/choreographers Daniel Ezalow, Jamey Hampton, Ashley Roland and Morleigh Steinberg.

All are performing in Hong Kong and they are electrifying as they prove with each and every piece, including that totally enchanting creation Foreign Tails, danced by the women in hooped skirts and the men in night shirts and tails.

What ISO can do with a length of stretch cloth, a couple of ankle bands and costumes designed to turn humans into a game of cat's cradle has to be seen to be believed. Don't miss out.