An inquisitive mind was at work in this past weekend's program at the Dance Place. Diane Floyd, director of the Saturday Company, uses varied approaches and diverse subject matter when she choreographs.
In "Mechanix Illustrated," a dance play about the relationship of performer to public and of craft to private life, the assemblies of classroom steps and fused acrobatics scored many of their ironic points by remaining staunchly independent of situations. In "Motor Trend," the hip quality of the movement certainly was determined by the topic of cars and "kids," while a whimsy of dance phrases and actions in "Pelican Chorus" served Edward Lear's verse as illustrations.
So wide a range could add up to eclecticism, especially since some of the choreography is done collaboratively with her company, but Floyd has a way of thinking through a dance that is recognizably her own. She develops movement material in a progression of contrasts. A sequence of tripping steps formed an almost flat path in Floyd's own virtuoso solo "Leitmotiv," while a throwing of limbs in all directions created a compact space. Yet, both sequences sustained the strength, likeness and speed of her technique. Use of longer phrases in the dance play turned Jeff Bliss's initial spurts of practice into crafted choreography.
In "Polarities," contrasting dynamics and the changing subdivisions of a seven-woman cast transformed a work that was undoubtedly conceived as a repetitive pattern piece into a set of classical variations.
All pieces on the program were meticuously presented. There were some distinctive performers, especially short Jeanne Feeny with her streamlined legs and bushy hair, the tall and subtlety strong Bliss, and Floyd herself. Floyd challenged herself as performer by dancing a Liz Lerman solo that is more histrionic than her own work. In it, as an insomniac, she doesn't yet project enough character to play with repetitive and still passages, but her rendition of the sleep dancing climax was chilling.