The Dance Project's two-companies-for-the-price-of-one concert series scored one sure-fire hit and one limp miss last week (repeated last night) in double feature of Kathy Wildeberger and Friends plus Elly Canterbury.
Wildeberger, a member of the Baltimore troupe Impetus, presented two intricate, contrasting works that dealt with the notion of community. "Tennessee Waltz" began with four women and a man clustered on a bench, all weak with the heat. Bugs trilled; the title waltz played.
Then each dancer sidled center stage to perform a novel, character-revealing solo: One woman moved in wispy ways, another taunted, a third stretched and circled. The man went from small skittering hops to deep lunges. And the last lady, a Blanche DuBois sort, broke out of her fading-flower style and into a frenzy of physical release.
A series of sultry interactions followed. Throughtout, the choreographer's ability to evoke drama by means of movement was clearly demonstrated.
"In The Canyon" offered a more abstract vision of the community theme. Four women crouched in a horizontal line. Bodies took on soft, sculptural poses. Time oozed by in almost Oriental fashion, allowing for a serene and cooperative dance to unfold.
As for Elly Canterbury, her choreographic vocabulary can be reduced to a handful of rag-doll tricks, a bundle of lyrical turns and extensions, and sad attempts at both "drama" and "stark modern dance." She's a fine performer who should stick to what she knows best: dancing.