Three choreographers with a few things in common, and a few not, performed with some friends at All Soul's Church last night. They all rationed the variety of movement in a piece, adhered to a limited number of discernible patterns and mostly preferred diminished dynamics.
Mary Buckley's dances are for people who have just awakened. In "Inner Season," to Joseph Kennedy's string plucking and humming, four women in ruffled skirts stretched for quite some time. Two of them, in red, must have had their coffee sooner than the two in cooler colors for they began to test space and scurry first. When all four were alert, they turned, bent, reached upward, rose onto half toe, did side glides and tossed their hair -- with subdued energy. Much of "Night Calls," a solo for Buckley herself, was danced down on the floor but also suggested someone walking up.
Kathy O'Brien, in one of her two solos, balanced on the same leg almost all the time. She kept the movement smooth but, in a reticent way, saw to it that its difficulty showed. Beginning "White Carbon" in an alert crouch, her back to the public, she then undertook sportive flailings and runs before resuming her bent stance.
The freest, least stinting of the dances were by Cathy Paine. Even so, the more spontaneous passages in her rehearasl piece, "Duet," were used to contrast with pattern choreography and her richest movement textures, in "Weasel," parodied technique classes and the balletic pas de trois.
Buckley, O'Brien and Paine are skilled within the limits they set for themselves. The poet Goethe said that true mastery is shown within strict limits. A critic added that so is the novitiate.
The program will be repeated at 8:30 p.m. tonight.