Group spirit dominated the 14 dancers at the University of Maryland who improvised and expanded last night on Meriam Rosen's directions. All the commands were executed with "pedestrian" movement material. Walking and waddling, towing and tusseling, climbing and carrying across the stage, aisles and seats of the Hoff Theatre on the College Park campus, the cast members were extremely disciplined in refraining from doing their own thing. So was the musician, David Freivogel, who usually followed the dancers' dynamics. Only on occasion, when the action threatened to become too uniform, did he lead with a lively beat on piano or diverse percussion.
Best results were obtained from the directions "follow without being followed." The scene remained lively, and humor was expressed in movement terms. Many of the other sets might have been more fun to join than watch. In their colorful playsuits, the performers looked younger than their actual age -- late teens and early 20s. Rosen -- likeably prim, methodical, dressed in black with a white collar -- seemed like the supervising sister in this kindergarten of a model parochial school.
Visual contrast could have been provided by including a few improvisations based, not on everyday motions, but on material from technique classes. Presumably these university dancers do have an adult vocabulary, too.