One of the qualities that distinguish Choo San Goh from other contemporary choreographers is his ability to delineate character in movement. All too often today's "pure dance" ballets seem to be animated singles bars where strangers meet and mingle without bothering with introductions. In contrast, Goh seems unafraid of personality.
Possibly nowhere in the Washington Ballet's current Goh repertory is this more evident than in the 1982 "In the Glow of the Night," which received its first showing of the season last night at Lisner Auditorium. Each of the ballet's three sections provides a choreographed contrast in character, and the dancers took full advantage of their opportunities in a ravishing performance.
In the opening "twilight" section, Julie Miles navigated her kingdom with silky bourre'es or quick leaps. A solitary, angry woman, supported by two men (Brian Jameson and Stefan Baranovics) who were lieutenants rather than beaux or peers, Miles managed to be imperious without being haughty, radiating glamor and warmth.
Lynn Cote darts and flashes in the central "gypsy" movement, a happy girl out for a good time, who flirts with and controls an ensemble of six men. Her partner, Ian Knowles, dances with her, rather than supports her, a companion rather than a lover.
The ballet's final movement, with a tragic, inky, midnight feeling, introduces a third type of woman, one with a lover. Janet Shibata, supported by John Goding, gave a beautifully stretched performance in a pas de deux which bespoke an almost desperate passion.
The company is dancing at high pitch this season. In the other works last night, all repeated from opening night, particular mention should be made of Bonnie Moore's perfectly centered turns and Robert Wallace's elevation and ability to shape movement in Goh's "Momentum." Newcomer Elizabeth Guerin"s giggling, piquant bourre'es were welcome spice.