Toe Jam and Fresh Jelly may be a bizarre name for a dance company, but remember it. Composed of two members, Donna Gangloff and Mary Williford, Toe Jam is one of the best things to happen on the local dance scene in some time.
The two women, who appeared last night on a double bill with Perlo/Bloom and Company at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, exhibited exquisite taste in their choice of material and danced with just the right balance of control and abandon. In Bebe Miller's "Gypsy Pie," a sultry, athletic duet set to a rhythmic and breathy score by Mike Vargas, Gangloff and Williford whipped and slithered about each other, offered each other support and blazed through their solos.
"Kin," by the gifted New York choreographer Susan Marshall, established an alternately tender and slightly competitive relationship between two women, apparently sisters. The dancers, both tall and slender, mirrored each other both in body type and in their mesmerizing approach to the sinuous, resonant movements.
Perlo/Bloom performed a wide variety of dances and musical pieces, the most cogent and humorous being Miller's "No Evidence," a quartet filled with secretive interplay and jazzy steps. Jan Van Dyke's "Tiny Life," a trio to music by the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, came off coy and fetching. Perlo's two dances, the solo "Zone" and the group dance "Now You See Them," suffered from a maddening stop-and-start quality and a lack of overall movement invention. The company, however, is looking better than ever, especially Ellen Gray Denker, Kathy Wildberger and Linda Garner Miller.