The choreography of June Finch, as sampled in a program at the Dance Project this past weekend, is so spare and well constructed, one comes away thinking that just a little more individual spark might save it from a prevailing sense of busywork. In the course of four solos, a duet for Finch and colleague Elizabeth Streb and a group work for 14 Dance Project students, there were moments of heightened imagination, but they were sporadic and fleeting.
Finch's trouble may be a case of an as-yet-unsevered artistic umbilicus. She started choreographing several years ago after dancing for eight years with Viola Farber, who in turn, had been a disciple of Merce Cunningham. Finch's work shows many traces -- perhaps altogether to many -- of Cunningham and Farber, but not the insutaining power of either.
There's the same sense of austere abstraction and movement invention for its own sake (more than half the program was danced in silence) and the same feeling of quirky rhythm and linear eccentricity. Finch herself, moreover, is a forceful and disciplined performer.
Even the best of the pieces, however -- the concluding tutti section of "Shuttle," the group work, with its diverting asymmetries; the solo, "Stitch," clicking away in quick, nervous stutterings; and the unfinished duet, "Tabs, with the two women tailgating each other in competitive imitation -- couldn't seem to make a great deal of headway. The action would start with an intriguing gambit, and then get stuck in its own groove. The dancing throughout the evening, though, was uniformly impeccable.