The nice thing about the Nancy Spanier Dance Theatre of Colorado, the Boulder-based troupe which gave the first of three performances at Grace Church Thursday evening, is its distinctive regional flavor -- we are, they seem to be saying, not your cookie-pattern modern dance outfit; we're real, oudoorsy westeners, Rocky Mountain kids. The six dancers have the bloom of youth, scrubbed good looks, a delight in physicality. They look like the cast for a fruit jucie commercial. And their pleasure in what they do -- and in each other -- is contagious.
The material they have to work with is something else again -- a decidedly mixed bag. The choreography of founder-director Spanier, who had a conventioanl, even conservative, eastern dance upbringing, makes a deliberate attempt to relate to Colorado, with imagery drawn from camping, jogging, skiing, climbing and so on nicely woven into the dancing. But the choreography is very uneven -- eclectic, gimmicky, tending more toward stylized gymnastics than portraiture in movement. There's something of the appealing innocence of the Aquarian Age about it, but also much of the simplemindedness and helter-skelter quality. The dancers make you smile; the choreography sometimes turns into a smirk. Still, it's a company one would banker to see again.