Washington dancer Julie Lichtblau and her colleagues from Toronto, Joe Bietola and Anita Shack, studied together in Canada at York University. In their "Shared Fare" program at the Market 5 Gallery yesterday afternoon, it was apparent that York graduates don't choreograph like peas in a pod. Lichtblau worked meticulously with two different manifestations of anger, while the visitors plunged into the dissociated calisthenics of post-modernism.
The first of the angry dances depicted the externalized fury of "Demons." As two such creatures from the shadow plays of the Balinese tradition, Cindy Peterson and Lichtblau engaged in an unceasing fight.The translation of the movements into Western terms worked well, especially the rendering of the "at rest," oriental squatting stance as a held plie in wide second position. In "Widow's Watch," Lichtblau probed the anatomy of a mostly internalized anger. Simple props helped to focus the viewer's attention on different parts of the dancer's body -- a suspended window frame served to cage the face, and stones on the floor stressed the barren play of fingers and feet.
"Shuttle," Anita Shack's solo, was a short step dance done in soft shoe. "Cold Sweat," this program's big number, also used soft shoe and the dancers -- Susan Cash, Peter Watson, Shack and choreographer Bietola -- were dressed immaculately in surgical suits of a green sheen and chic cut. However, 25 minutes of high energy motion left the suits moist and rumpled and the cast panting. This operation's many movement cuts ranged from the solo shimmy and hands-off balance to the multi-partnered lift-and-carry. Following a current fashion, the choreography was goal-directed, but the execution was purposely left in the rough. As a distinguishing device, Bietola had interjected sensual phrases in which the performers played with the stretchable fabric of their suits.
All the dancers were competent, without anyone seeming outstanding. It wouldn't hurt Shack and Bietola to be more original, or Lichtblau, who has ideas of her own, to subject them to further development.