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Monday, May 14, 2007

BosmaDance at Dance Place

For more than two years now, Meisha Bosma has been lauded as an emerging choreographer and promising artist. Saturday at Dance Place, it was a promise not kept. In a BosmaDance program of recent and new pieces, two didn't work at all and two remained in the realm of "interesting, but . . ."

The better of the "interesting" pieces was "Grass," which featured Bosma's signature high energy and imaginative movement phrases following one another like beads on a string.

It's a format, though, that doesn't leave much room for overall structural development. A sense that the work is progressing is provided largely by mood-changing selections on the soundtrack (by CocoRosie and Alberto Iglesias, mixed by Matt Boerum). The dancers create imagery reminiscent of the sky, the Earth, bugs, birds and even cats -- two dancers facing each other on all fours, heads darting forward and retreating like skittish felines checking each other out.

Every now and then a big flat basket was lowered from the sky and the dancers removed shiny blue objects from it that were too small to identify. Were they birds? Eggs? Something else entirely? It was a case of sloppy props.

Alice Wylie and Francesca Jandasek put in strong performances in the clever duet "House of Cards," depicting the changing balance of a relationship. There were lots of requisite hugs and shoves.

They ambulated like conjoined twins and intertwined like two vines on a fence. But repetition dulled the duet's edge.

The other two works were inexcusably self-indulgent.

The overly cutesy "Carousel" had girls in petticoats and goofy looks gamboling to Vivaldi and ripping open presents. "Shelter" went on forever. The subject was sacrosanct: According to the program, the work was created together with homeless and abused women and their children from House of Ruth. Yet there were some weird moments, like a solo with the dancer's head stuck in a laundry basket.

By now, Bosma should be able to do better. To see choreographers with talent stall in their development is frustrating. Hopefully, she will shake herself out of this lull and reach her potential.

-- Pamela Squires

Teatro de Danza Contemporanea De El Salvador at Georgetown University

The choreography was solid but not always a perfect match for the performers Saturday at Georgetown University's Gonda Theatre in a program by El Teatro de Danza Contemporanea de El Salvador.

Throughout the evening, particularly in Danilo Rivera's "Impetus," dancers wobbled on pirouettes or touched a hand to the floor when they lost balance. Surely one or two such slip-ups are forgivable, even in a professional troupe, but in Saturday's concert they occurred with unusual frequency. These were certainly capable dancers, but some of the choreography was jampacked with tricky sequences that were ill-suited to their strengths.

One piece that did showcase the company's assets was Rivera's "In the End . . . In Your Absence," a duet he performed with Vannia Ibarguen. The partnering was well executed, and the lush, airy movement gave the illusion that the two were floating across the stage.

An all-male cast performed "Moments of Reflections," a world premiere choreographed by Adrain Bolton. It was refreshing to see the difficult, gender-neutral partnering in this work. It was fitting that this dance was on the program alongside Gloria Contreras's lovely "Dance for Women," a ballet about the uniquely female experience of being a mother.

"And Now the Hope," Miya Hisaka Silva and Juan Carlos Rincones's moving tribute to the 80,000 lives lost in El Salvador's civil war, is a thoughtful, well-crafted piece, obviously the work of seasoned choreographers. Though "Fragments of Life" was the last piece on the program, the dancers showed no signs of fatigue. In fact, this urgent, mostly up-tempo number choreographed by Rivera and Francisco Castillo was the most seamless and best rehearsed on the program.

-- Sarah Halzack


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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