In order to provide some summer work and free classes for unemployed dancers, Ken Ludden founded an ad hoc summer company - Summergate. Yesterday afternoon, the company made its local debut in Rehearsal Room 1 of the Kennedy Center Opera House.
The group's two Washington premiers, "Impetus" and a pas de trois from Stravinsky's "Soldiers's Tale," were choreographed by Ludden, an able craftsman with a refreshing interest in steps and gestures, not just in lifts. Taking his cue from Pam Layman's electronic score for "Impetus," he created a dance for a Harlequin and Columbine of the distant future. The contrast between the dancers - short, slim, light Stephanie Godino and tall, sinewy and strong Ludden - emphasized the balletic stylization of the couple's romance.
Bruce Harger mimed the Soldier in the Stravinsky piece, while Ludden as the Devil and Godino as the bait frolicked around him. There was deliberate focus in Godino's role on toe work, often used too casually these days. She sparkled.
Fred Martin and Ludden mimed the final work, the Puppet Show from Dominc Argento's "Postcard from Morocco", which they are currently performing in Lou Galterio's staging with the Kennedy Center Summer Opera.