It isn't often that a dance program offers as much dancing these days as the Kintz-Mejia Academy of Ballet's showcase last night at Montgomery College's handsome theater in Rockville. Not just the demanding divertissements from two classics, Arthur St. Leon's "La Vivandiere" and Marius Petipa's "Don Quixote," but the three contemporary works on the bill as well stood or fell on the basis of ballet technique and style, rather than by theatrical and dramatic values.
The actual achievement varied, from the highly professional accomplishments of Linda Kintz and Ingrid Fraley to dancing that was of school recital caliber. Yet even when polish was lacking, it's rare for a small group to display as many energetic men as there were on this showcase.
Seven of the men had a workout in "Toccata and Fugue," in which choreographer Mark Mejia combined acrobatics with classical steps, and strobe lights with Bach's counterpoint for the organ. Mejia isn't a very skilled maker of dances. In the Bach piece as well as in his "Walpurgisnacht," to the ballet music from Gounod's opera "Faust," the performers are sometimes left waiting akwardly between passages. Nonetheless, Mejia seems committed to pure choreography, for he never fills in the gaps with mere stage business.
Kintz and Fraley are different types of dancers. Fraley is lyrical with a line that, though delicate, is capable of spatial sweep. In the midst of the "Walpurgisnacht" orgy, which Mejia makes into a romp for beach boys and bunnies more than a bacchanal for mythological characters, Fraley displayed subtlety and fine phrasing. Kintz is strong and clean. Not only in the "Don Quixote" but also in Vassili Sulich's Apache dance with insect imagery, "Mantodea," each movement was honed to look classical.
Kathi Ferguson, Michael Denham and four colleagues tackled the intricate beats, sudden jumps and tight turns of "La Vivandiere" bravely and one could get an inkling of this ballet's buoyancy. Richard Richards, who capered as the Pan figure in "Walpurgisnacht," had more force than finesse. A common fault in the company was a tendency to hunch when the dancing shifted into high gear.