In many ways, the spring dance concert presented at George Washington University's Marvin Center Theatre this weekend was gratifyingly professional. The well-balanced program consisted of seven works, three by students and four by faculty members, each stylistically distinct, each well produced.
Two faculty works, Colette Yglesias' "Eight Waltzes" and artist-in-resident Mitchell Rose's "Lame Duck Session," deserve the honors of the evening. Yglesias' sculptural choreography reveled in stillness more than movement. The dances, complementing music by composers ranging from Babbitt to Tcherepnin, were static rather than flowing. Unfortunately, although the dancing in the other works on the program was excellent, technique problems, particularly with balances, spoiled the shape of the dance.
"Lame Duck Session," with its dancers resembling cartoon characters and its soundtrack from Warner Bros., would have been funny had the dancers just stood there and mugged. But Rose had his five dancers racing and rolling all over the stage, movement gags shot at the audience at the pace of a chase scene in a Keystone Cops flick. "Lame Duck Session" is a fine exercise in projection for students. Best of all, Rose let his dancers dance.
Two of the student works, Lauren Seelye-Harris' "Evanescence" and Rachel Quynn's "Wood," shared the common problem of solid structure undermined by weak choreographic content. Both pieces looked like well-blocked plays, the dancers creating interesting shapes that the movement did not enliven. Donna Bowie's "Wire Tight," on the other hand, was playful and pungent. Sunny on the surface, the duet was spiced by a bittersweet undercurrent of tension.