The good news about the appearance of the Laura Pawel Dance Company at Grace Church this weekend was the well-attended launching of the new Georgetown Dance Series under the auspices of Murray Spalding's Movement Arts Studio. The church interior, given a more theater-like ambiance with a defined stage area and scenic accoutrements, boasts an inviting intimacy splendidly suited to chamber dance events.
The Pawel program was another story. Many patrons seemed to find it amusing and gratifying, which only goes to prove there's an audience for anything. It's a safe guess that if one picked seven people at random off a bus and asked them to fool around like kids in a rumpus room the results would be equally artistic.
But why anyone would shell out actual money to watch the flippant, largely impromptu antics of a motley, ill-disciplined troupe altogether unremarkable markable in appearance, skill or imagination -- this defies understanding.
When the movement in the mercifully brief segments of "Company's Coming" and "Air Play" approximated "dance," it was embarrassingly inept -- uncoordinated, unrhythmical, shapeless. The mundane actions and conversations which filled in the cracks were simply tedious.
Footnote: In "Air Play," the dancers, wearing plastic coveralls that looked like garbage bags, were accompanied by irrelevant and stupefyingly dull medieval music in a live, but wholly inert, performance.As something calling itself dance, this was, in short, the pits.