The Court Dance Company of New York flitted it featly on the stage of the Folger Library's Elizabethan Theatre last night. Cutting numerous capers with elegance and elan, they joined the Folger Consort in a program of music and dance designed of remind us how closely the musical symmetries and repeats of Renaissance music, and the neat balances of statement and response mirrored the dance figures of the period.
Beginning this month, the Folger Consort performances will be taped by Parkway Productions and broadcast Wednesday evenings on WGTS-FM. The music is literally transporting: form the high, piercing notes of the small tibia to the great underwater tones of the bass recorders played by Scott Reiss, or the tones of Robert Eisenstein's viola da gamba muted and raw at once. But it seems wrong to single out individual players of this fine ensemble since all performed with finesse and invention, their singular instrumental voices blending as in good conversation without any loss of individual flavor or identity.
The dancing full of shuffles and stamps, quick foot work, scolding gestures, lifts and kisses, was springy and vertical. The dancers were gorgeously costumed, and director Charles Garth, fully bearded and bearing an unsetting resemblance to Henry VIII, performed his mannerly capers with particular charm and spriteliness.
In Renaissance dance, a woman can say a lot simply by rising onto her toes. In a mischievous speech, before her final song, soprano Ann Monoyios felt moved to point out that the Iyrics she was singing in a voice clear as running water were really rather steamy.