It was no easy thing to abandon the Glen Echo carousel and yesterday afternoon's sunshine for the dark confines of the Spanish Ballroom. Once inside, the spectator encountered a rather monotonous assortment of dances, generally well-executed by members of the Glen Echo Dance Theater, but oddly lifeless when taken one after another.
Certainly the high spots were two solos by Washington dance pioneer Pola Nirenska, "Longing" and "Wounded." Each is a clear physical distillation of an emotional state, each employs a compelling score (Debussy's "La Plus Que Lente" and Ginastera's "Concerto for Piano and Orchestra") and each has found a sensitive interpreter (Susan Hannen in "Longing" and Betsy Eagan in "Wounded").
Time after time, the dedicated dancegoer stares fixedly at a stage, trying valiantly to sort out the "relationships" that a choreographer has created, or merely to make sense of amorphous movement. The three remaining works on Sunday's program elicited just this sort of response. Are the madly rocking man and woman in Priscilla Barden's "Edge" lovers? Fellow mental patients? People at a weird party? Did Jan Tievsky intend an Eastern allegory in her "Passages," with its hackneyed Japanese score and slow-motion processionals? And what of the sextet in Dottie Fried's "Speed"? Are these women models, or socialites, or merely convenient bodies to be set in cliche'd motion?