Laura Glenn and Gary Lund make dances the old-fashioned way -- with care, intensity, craft and attention to their audience's as well as their own concerns. These two modern dance veterans -- Glenn was for many years a performer with the Jose' Limon Dance Company, while Lund danced with Nancy Hauser's Minneapolis-based troupe -- are superb movers, but their sensitivity extends in other directions as well. Their program Saturday night at the Dance Place was among the most professional, balanced and beautiful offerings that well-booked space has seen.
Together with their gifted company of five very different dancers, Glenn and Lund create a theatrical atmosphere that harks back to a time before leg warmers, pedestrian movement and a score by Philip Glass were de rigueur for acceptance into the "artistic" world. They are not afraid to show off their awesome technique, to dance to Schubert's "Trout Quintet," to revel in the liquid turns and leaps at which they all excel. And they don't back away from subjects like plane crashes or politics, but find inventive ways to deal with them.
Saturday night's program opened with three works by Lund, followed by three more by Glenn. Lund is by far the more intense performer, and his choreography mirrors his stage persona. Lund's "Trout Duet," for himself and Glenn, and set to the Schubert, had this orange-jumpsuited couple whirring past and around one another like happy, indefatigable hummingbirds. "Flight 242," a solo chronicling a plane crash from which only the pilot survived, began with Lund striding maniacally about like some macho cadet, and then evolved into an electric, if overlong, portrait of this fellow's torment during and after the crash. Torso taut, feet flexing and beating wildly against the floor, arms taking on the speed and precision of two propellers, this was a tour de force of condensed energy. "Route," a group dance, evoked jungles, mazes and ever-shifting relationships.
Glenn's strong points are her sense of humor, love of rhythm and an ability to stagger dancers and movements so that they create ongoing, absolutely hypnotic patterns. "Egress," to composer Bill Buchen's wondrous "Digital Gameplan," sent six dancers rolling, leapfrogging and cavorting in the most diverting fashion. "Nuclear Family" featured Julie Brown and Sabatino Verlazza as a folksy, and increasingly haggard, husband and wife with two adorable cardboard kids. The evening concluded with "Presidential Tango," a witty, fast-paced roundelay for the entire company to a soundtrack of cleverly manipulated snippets from President Reagan's speeches. The audience cheered.