Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
The performance of Jose Limon's "A Choreographic Offering" at Clendenen Theater Thursday night was a major achievenment for the American University dance department. Credit belongs not only to Risa Steinberg and Robert Cutler of the Limon Company, who mounted and directed the worK, but equally to the AU dance students, whose ardent involvement with the opus helped bring it to pulsing life.
Limon intended "Offering" as an homage to the great Doris Humphrey, whose own dance works are alluded to or quoted herein by Limon. And like Humphrey's more ambitious projects this is choreography on a grand scale, complex in its morphology, and matched to music (Bach's "A Musical Offering") both intricate and profound.
Within the solos and ensembles, large and small, the dancers are deployed in shifting aggregations as if they were the instruments or sections of a corporeal orchestra - indeed, the configurations often mirror Bach's scoring. The result is a comtrapuntal interplay of masses that is at once fluid, dramatic and visually arresting.
Motifs that stick in memory: the great linked circles and chains of the opening and final sections, the swift, exultant beats, kicks and hops of the second solo; the joyfully interweaving planes of the quintet; and most of all, the slow, dipping forward stride of the final solo, somehow like an ascent to Elysium (this last danced with serene intensity by Ellen Gray Denker).
Despite minor imprecisions and lapses, the dancers managed to capture Limon's idealistic spirit with remarkable fidelity. There are repeat performance tonight and Sunday afternoon.