The Easy Moving Company, which presented two programs at the Dance Place this weekend, is based in Raleigh, N.C., and spends much of its time touring, both in its home state and elsewhere. The five dancers (one of whom, Cynthia Schraf-Fletcher, spent a number of her performing years in this area) are decently skilled, but the troupe has no artistic director and the choreography is provided by company members and an occasional outsider.
All these factors put their stamp on the group. The absence of an artistic director has the favorable consequence that the repertory isn't stuck in any one groove. On the other hand, on the basis of Saturday night's sampling, there's no pronounced choreographic talent within the troupe itself, and the fare tends toward the bland, the safe and the derivative, without perceptible relation to contemporary esthetic methods or issues. What Easy Moving does, it does reasonably well, but it's an open question whether any of it is worth doing.
Four of Saturday's offerings were the work of Schraf-Fletcher. "Journey to Nanya" had all five performers (one of them male) enacting a dully repetitive ritual to a monotonous gong-like score, with debts to Martha Graham, tai chi, and American Indian tribal rites, among other sources. "Impressions," to music by Lou Harrison, was also ritualistic, in a quasi-Asiatic vein. "Sadie's Faded Flowers," a vague, tepid minidrama involving two women in old-fashioned dresses, teacups and cryptic verbal asides, reminded one of the choreographer's former association with Jan Van Dyke. "This, That or the Other," to a Baroque score by LeClair, looked like a diluted version of one of Paul Taylor's neoclassic pieces.
Patti Kilpatrick's "Bon Voyage" used music by Bix Beiderbecke and Fats Waller--its facetious jewel heist, pitting three vaudevillians against a high society vamp, drew upon choreographic and conceptual material from Taylor and Twyla Tharp. The one item not "homemade" was Don Redlich's battle-of-the-sexes cartoon, "Cahoots," given a rather overly burlesqued and self-conscious performance by Gail Gilbert and Stuart Gold. Easy Moving Company could do with some hard soul-searching in quest of a viable artistic identity.