Performances by the Hoffman Dance Consort at the Washington Project for the Arts this weekend marked the start of the second residency in WPA's new Washington Dance Series, one which will continue through the week with classes, workshops and further performances.
Addison Hoffman the troupe's founder-director, is a notable, strong, versatile dancer. He'll be performing with the splendid Maryland Dance Theater later this season, and that fact alone speaks well of his ability. In addition, the four women who participated with him in the consort's opening program Sunday night Jeanne Feeney, Fernanda Setubal, Beth Spicer and Eleanor Bunker) seem to be, in general, attractive and able dancers.
These points are worth emphasizing because they were among the few redeeming features of the program. "Talybont" was the sole offering among five, all by Hoffman, that came close to looking like a finished piece of work. A quartet set to some trashy rock, its dance material is trite in the extreme, but at least it has exuberance and a legible form.
Also seen were "Simple Dances," a failed bit of pseudo-Renaissance whimsy; "Aria," a stagnant "poetic" solo to an overworked Villa-Lobos song; "Axanklaxxen" (a title about as scrutable as "Talybont"), three non-descript solos in a banal cabaret idiom; and "Voices," a dully obscure Hoffman solo to piano music by Hindemith.
In short, there were at best only scanty signs of the craft, ideas and instincts of a choreographer.