Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Folk dance troupes must make a choice between authentically reproducing their native folk forms or translating these forms into theater. The Soviet Georgian Dancers, who performed Tuesday night at Kennedy Center with the Tbilisi Polyphonic Choir, take the latter course.
In a program beautifully staged and choreographed, the troupe presented an alternation of choral and dance numbers varied in mood, but uniformly geared to please and astonish an audience.
The a capella choral music uses non-European modes and leans toward clear polyphonal and antiphonal effects, and much of the impact, in the songs as in the dances, is gained through the massing of means, be they bodies or voices.
Both song and dance alternate between sharply defined and accentuated elements and continuous waves of smoothly flowing sound or movement. In "Mipatizheba," an ensemble dance, the women seemed to be on wheels, using small, gliding steps that disguised the breaks between movements.
By contrast, in "Parikaoba," a sword dance, the dancers paired off and dueled in perfect time to the music. At times the dance was reminiscent of an enormous playground hand-slap game, except that the rhythmic clash of metal against metal made real sparks fly.