It would be a mistake to think of this company as a junior replica of the Joffrey Ballet. While some of the dancers will in time join the major league troupe, Joffrey II showed its own character on Sunday afternoon at Goucher College in Towson.
Above all, the dozen performers are young in looks and fresh in technique. There are no prodigies, but the dancing is neat, pliant, unaffected. Unfortunately, the emphasis of the repertory was on the cute and conventional rather than on youth's daring.
William Whitener's "Boomfellera," a game and dance class collage, missed the earnestness of learning conveyed by its Carl Orff music for children. "Die and Das," by company director Sally Bliss, is modeled on the ungrandiose friendliness of Bournonville's classical style, but instead of lilting to Johann Strauss Sr. this duo limps along too prettily.
With strong material, the Joffrey II is capable of bite. A male solo with Indian chanting in Norbert Vesak's Shaker ballet gave Paul Stewart the chance to move with the frustrated power of Doris Humphrey's modern Shaker classic. Madelyn Berdes' passionate restraint added welcome maturity to "Continuo," Antony Tudor's adagio of line and lifts for three couples to Pachelebel's canon. And the driven aspects of the '40s were caught by Luis Perez's solo in Daryl Gray's swing ballet.