Tickets to see Dallas Black Dance Theatre perform at the Publick Playhouse are a fraction of what it costs to see Alvin Ailey at the Kennedy Center, but never assume this Texas-based troupe offers a fraction of the talent. Dallas Black Dance Theatre performed in Cheverly for the 10th straight year this weekend, lighting up a crowd that knows the dancers so well, they cheer with every pelvic thrust.
The Friday show opened with “Southern Recollections: For Romare Bearden,” a new work by former Evidence dancer Bridget L. Moore, who is now based in Dallas and, evidently, a promising young choreographer. The suite is set to a sublime collection of jazz mash-ups, with John Coltrane’s sax wafting over new electronic scores. The opening section was the strongest and required the dancers, dressed in classy clubbing attire, to swirl across the stage with a series of tight, crossed-arm turns, performed high on their bare toes but executed as smoothly as twizzling ice dancers. The movement closed with the dancers slowly assembling a nightclub tableau, as if posing for one of Bearden’s Harlem Renaissance collages. Other movements were less distinct. Atmospheric projections, including the artist’s work, might help tie the piece together.