Dispaying male technique and physiques last night, the Dance Theatre of Harlem introduced Program 4 into its season at the Warner Theatre. None of the works was new, but their combination on one bill made the company seem a kissing cousin of Maurice Bejart's Brussels-based Ballet of the 20th Century and the antithesis of George Balanchine's dictum that "ballet is woman."
All the men -- 14 strong -- danced "Troy Game," Robert North's set of combative and acrobatic moves to Brazilian rhythms. A tall group, they flaunted athletic prowess but with welcome infusions of classical precision and nonchalant irony. The women appeared with the men in Geoffrey Holder's African parade "Dougla" and in "Forces of Rhythm," Louis Johnson's superficial gloss of ballet and steps form African and Afro American dances. Despite this decorative female presence and long solo in "Forces" it was the men who starred -- with Mel Tomlinson and Ronald Perry taking special honors.
Tomlinson, tall among the tall with his long legs, powerful neck and sloping shoulders, looks like a circus strong man when at rest. But the moment he begins to move the body becomes streamlined, in dancing that is intense yet light. Perry, in "Troy Game" and in Karel Shook's flamboyant staging of the classical "Corsaire" pas de deux, was both proud and relaxed; it only Elna Carter, his partner in "Corsaire," could be as supple as he in the upper body. Her leg work was nicely sharp.
Dance Theater of Harlem's engagement continues to Oct. 19.