What may be the area's newest dance troupe -- the Round House Dance Company -- presented an attractive and venturesome program this weekened in the 200-seat Silver Spring theater from which the company takes its name.
Completely reorganized this past summer under the auspices of the Montgomery County Recreation Department and with the help of a CETA grant, the group of six versatile dancers is involved in year-round educational and community activities, as well as formal performances. The ambiance of the Round House Theater is intimate and cozy, and though the fanshaped stage has its problems for dance the troupe uses the space shrewedly -- the production are technically smooth and artfully lighted.
Even more impressive were the dancing and the repertoire. The dancers supply all their own choregraphy, and if the results are predictably uneven, the overall level is surprisingly high. Of seven pieces on the current program, three showed genuine freshness and command, and enviable average anywhere.
"Dances of the Ancient Temples" by the troupe's artistic director, Tim Biel, uses the full company plus eight appretices to summon up seven miniature impressions of antique rites, to aptly exotic harp music. The larger group segments in partcular -- including the opening "Hebrews," but also "Egypt," with its striking, cairnlike formations -- display a wonderful sense, of shape, and the whole piece has just the right hieratic atmosphere. Tastefully evocative costumes (the designs are credited to Leslie-Marie Cocuzzo and Pamela MacFarlane) are a further asset.
"From Flight," by former company member Allynon Paul, is a gem of a trio using skimming, wheeling and flocking motifs from bird imagery with deft poetic composure Cynthia Carter's "Rites of Passage," despite its formal diffusion and unsulted score (Bartok), has marked dramatic interest.
Though the other places were either too derivative or structurally flimsy, even the weakest wasn't lacking in craft. Among the dancers, Bill E. Lewis stood out for his presence and vibrancy, along with Tim Biel and Cynthia Carter, but all six seem capable and they work splendidly together as a unit.