University dance concerts are chancey; in a single program you might witness the latest opus of a gifted artist-in-residence and the "baby steps" of several student choreographers. The look is bound to be youthful, fad-conscious, both coltish and gauche.
This weekend appears to be "Fall Concert" time at the American and George Washington Universities. Each event boasts works by guest dance-makers of note -- Gus Solomons and Sharon Wyrrick at AU, Marta Renzi at GWU -- created specifically for student performance. Solomons, one of the most accomplished black choreographers around (and certainly among the tallest, fiercest and longest-legged of all Merce Cunningham's former company members) displays a penchant for abstract, game- related dances, often based on charts and architectural constructs. "Steps n7: Chatter Traffic I" was begun on graph paper, and has blossomed into a quick-stepping, witty group exercise to the rock music of Billy Squier. Sharon Wyrrick, once a grad student at AU, is one of the more inventive local choreographers; gesture, everyday and theatrical, makes up the core of her densely populated works. "Drive," a back-and-forth, wild-armed piece for six women in olive- green shorts and tops, should be attended to for its score above all -- a daffy, rhythmically astute barrage of words and music by Wyrrick and Wayne Jones.
GWU's Department of Human Kinetics and Leisure Studies (i.e., phys.ed. and dance) was recently blessed with the presence of choreographer/teacher Marta Renzi, an open-faced Raggedy Ann of a dancer whose pieces sing with wit, humanity and down-home charm. Though she's back in New York now, she's given her GW students "Song of the Flood," a large group work about the daily grind of the common man, studded with folk steps to Louisiana folk music. THE NEXT STEPS AMERICAN FALL DANCE CONCERT, Friday and Saturday at 8, Sunday at 5, Clendenon Theater on the AU Campus, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW. General admission $4.50, $3.50 for students. Call 686-2317. GWU FALL DANCE CONCERT, Friday and Saturday at 8, Marvin Center, 21st and H streets NW. General admission $4; $3 for students and senior citizens. Call 676-6577.