To complain about variety in dancing and music by Laura Dean may seem incredible, but there was such diversity of movement in "Sky Light" that it was difficult to comprehend as an entity. The two other new works performed by the Dean Dancers and Musicians last night at the University of Maryland in College Park extended Dean's choreographic range most sensibly.
Having gained a reputation early on for maximum repetition and miniscule variations, Dean has recently been building bridges from her own art to more traditional styles. "Inner Circles," which opened the Tawes program, shows her interest in academic technique, theatrical costuming, the organic development of themes and, perhaps, in partnering.
As the dancers entered in sequence, they delivered key movements with such determined care that they evoked a sense of classroom lessons. In spins, the women's skirts became red bells and the men's trousers turned into glittering black thigh wings. Crystalline floor patterns and Dean's famous repetitions were tempered by the lyrical expansion of a movement motif and, fleetingly, two in the cast of six could even be viewed as a pair.
"Enochian" was intended for two dancers, Dean and Ching Gonzalez. On this occasion Gonzalez performed it alone because Dean was ill. Yet the piece's choreographic duality remained intact. To test the body's internal stress and its controlled release, Gonzalez rose from a deep plie and moved slowly, powerfully through modeled poses. He looked like a saint practicing discipline. Suddenly, he became sensual, as the dancing shifted to loose loping. The two images enhanced each other, which the jazziness, classicism, dervish turning and other concerns of "Sky Light" did not.