Created in 2007 with a zero budget for design, Misuse had an inkling for the rough waters the country was about to enter.
PREVIEW When New York choreographer John Jasperse presented his company in its local debut in 2004, the severe and pared-down choreography of his multimedia piece California looked more New England Puritanism than California hedonism. Good for him, I remember thinking, for not having bought into popular stereotypes. Still the omnipresent leaf blower and the dancers' self-involvement needled me. No such hint of a cultural disconnect is likely to trouble his Misuse liable to prosecution, which takes its name from the milk crates we use to store and move our belongings. The work includes a live score by Mills College composer Zeena Parkins and a found-objects design for which YBCA has sent out a call for plastic coat hangers. One wonders: when Jasperse, who has been choreographing for more than 20 years, created Misuse in 2007 and set a zero budget for design, did he have an inkling for the rough waters the country was about to enter? In retrospect, the decision has proven visionary. Misuse's original impetus came from a desire to hold up a mirror to a society in which Judge Judy makes more money than all nine of the Supreme Court justices combined, or in which the war in Iraq costs more than four times per day than the annual budget for the National Endowment for the Arts. No doubt, if Jasperse made Misuse today, he could come with other horror figures picked straight from the headlines. But ultimately more important than the topical resonance of this work is the integrity and refinement of Jasperse's choreography which is his own, yet made for us.
JOHN JASPERSE COMPANY. Thurs/2Sat/4, 8 p.m., $25$30. Novellus Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard, SF. (415) 978-2787. www.ybca.org