Imagine Rachmaninoff adn Stevie Wonder, Milton's "Paradise Lost" and contemporary street life encompassed on one dance program. That was the ambitious enterprise of Jason Taylor's Theater Movement Exchange in its maiden concert Saturday night at Howard University's Crampton Auditorium.
To present Satan, Uriel and the archetyal bag lady in one performance demands artistic resources of a large order and a stylistic identity strong and individual enough to breed unity out of such eclecticism.
Taylor's young company hasn't achieved that kind of cohesiveness yet, although it suffers no lack of talented, engaging dancers. What is lacking, for the moment, is a choreographic base sufficient to develop those talents and show them off to advantage.
The company's staging has a theatrical, professional look, but many of the dancers seemed to end before their possibilities had been explored amply. Most needed more inventive use of stage zones, diagonals and other directional devices, as well as more rigorous development of fewer dance ideas.
Of the pieces on the program, "Victims," a quartet depicting four character types: athlete, businessman, priest and prisoner, came closest to creating memorable, visual and kinetic patterns. Of the performers, Andre Robinson, and James Thurston stood out as dancers with polish, presence and power in reserve.