Meryl W-Shapiro's "An Odyssey Through A SEA OF DANCE," a sort of danced travelogue that received its premiere at George Washington University last night, presented a sampler of just about all types of dance and tried to relate them in ways not always successful.
The most interesting dances were those based on folk material. Steven Skalarow in "Pendozalis" and Joanne Erlebacher in "Soleares" were excellent in Greek and Spanish dances, respectively, and a jazz dance for six couples to music by Benny Goodman and Count Basie was fresh and entertaining.
The rest of the "Odyssey" consisted of "modern" dances that used movements inspired by the folk ones; although the idea was a promising one, the actual dances themselves were less than memorable. W-Shapiro's linking device, a gang of "Sea Creatures" that introduced the program and provided "segues" between segments, was more a distraction than an enhancement. Tom Donohue's backdrop, a child's vision of underwater life, was enchanting.
The second half of the program was performed by the Momentum Dance Theatre in what was billed as a "guest appearance." Company director Roberta Rothstein's solo "Shadow of Fear" probed fear's emotional byproducts, anger and shame, in a work that successfully combined a taped script (by Rothstein), music and movement. Richard Dunston's award-winning solo "Dream Hunter" completed the program.