What with the choreographer's dog wandering onto the stage, one of the dances being stopped in the middle and restarted due to the dancer's unhappiness with a muffed lighting cue, and the extemporaneous delivery between dances by both performers of personal and professional histories, last night's performance by choreographer Bill Evans (for Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers) and his partner Gregg Lizenbery was one of the more informal concerts at the Dance Place in recent memory.
"Tin-Tal," which was choreographed in 1971, was cited by Evans as a turning point for his choreography. Danced by Lizenbery, "Tin-Tal" indeed seemed a paradigm for the Evans style, which is a mixture of modified Limon swings and falls combined with the dynamic and spatial contrasts that were developed by the German theorist, Rudolf Laban. The resultant emphasis upon release in the chest, articulation of the upper body, and insistent three-dimensionality is both hypnotically flowing and dare-devilish in its constant pull off center.
Evans also performed a work by Daniel Nagrin, whose dancing had inspired him more than 20 years ago to switch from ballet to the modern idiom. Like the best of serious jazz music, "Jazz: Three Ways" was all idiosyncratic and personal, moving from the self-mocking bittersweetness of the blues to the stylized cool of the Lindy to the introspection of the Thelonious Monk accompaniment.
The concert will be repeated at 8:30 tonight.