IT'S NOT EVERY choreographer who, in addition to creating movement, designs costumes, set, props, masks and make-up. Abigail Kaplan does it all, and more. Recently appointed the artistic director of CODA, one of this area's most polished modern dance troupes, she is also working toward a master's degree at American University.
The pair of concerts Kaplan will present this weekend at the Dance Place are, in fact, part of her thesis project. They also mark her debut in the Washington area. The former New Jersey resident's credits include performance, choreography and costume design at Princeton University, with the Princeton Ballet Society and in New York City.
With her penchant for carefully wrought costumes and other visual effects, much of Kaplan's work is highly theatrical. She calls her "Blue Soup" a "dada quartet," while her group piece "Mother/Rites" calls to mind pagan ceremonies and ethnic rituals. "The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo" features one dancer vaulting herself forward by means of two long wooden poles.
Kaplan's musical tastes pique one's interest as well: Her solo "Night Dances" is performed to music by Laurie Anderson; "The Western Ocean" is set to the mystical sounds of Alan Hovhaness; and local composer Christian Pestalozzi has written the remaining three scores.
Kaplan will be joined onstage by members of CODA, performers from American University and other guest artists.
ABIGAIL KAPLAN AND DANCERS -- This Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m., The Dance Place, 2424 18th Street NW. Tickets $7, $6 for students and seniors. Call 462- 1321.