THROUGHOUT the history of modern dance, all-female companies, led by strong-willed women, have flourished. Yet it's rare to come upon an all-female troupe that owes its existence to a man.
Daniel West is just such a man. After studying and creating works both in this country and in Europe, West arrived in Washington five years ago and began choreographing a succession of well-made, rhythmically astute, and -- most significantly -- tense and powerful dances for various local companies.
This past June, West's own troupe, the Daniel West Dancers, made a stunning debut at the Washington Dance Directions festival. Composed of eight gifted women, the company has helped immeasurably in solidifying West's position as a brazen chronicler of modern angst.
The most memorable of West's works deal with contemporary attitudes and feelings about love and life, especially those expressed by women. For its first full-length program in Washington, the company will present the premiere of West's "Falling for You." Set to the music of Brahms, it presents three dancers garbed in prom dresses and carrying fresh-cut flowers.
Also on the program: "We Walk a Mile in Your Shoes," a sizzling, disquieting quartet to the sounds of the Rova Sax Quartet; "Medium Red," a deadpan, militaristic group exercise with a score by local composer Robin Rose; and "He Made Her Do It," a tour de force for soloist Mary Williford, that sets forth some searing images of a woman in distress.
DANIEL WEST DANCERS -- Friday and Saturday at 8:30, Sunday at 5, The Dance Place, 2424 18th St. NW. Tickets $8, $7 for students and senior citizens. Call 462-1321.