The Center Dance Ensemble's performance of six dances Sunday night at the Jewish Community Center was collectively dubbed "Echoes"; a far more apt title, I'm afraid, would have been "Mediocrity."
Under the direction of Bunnye Levey, the six dancers, all of them women, moved in a bland, unfocused manner. Several exhibited some technical ability, but there was no real sense of ensemble, rhythmic vitality or dynamic range.
The company's repertoire does not help matters. Of the four works premiered on this program, only Frances Cohen's "Maria's Dance" -- a suite of Latin-inspired solos performed winningly by Maria Castello -- provided its participants with a modicum of imaginatively wrought ideas or steps. "Company Effort," a collaboration between Levey and her troupe, proved a saccharine classroom romp replete with stools and neon-bright unitards. Cohen's "Echoes" -- supposedly an impressionistic ode to the land of Israel -- came off as just another overwrought batch of modern dance cliche's. Alcine Wiltz's "Capricious Oddities" started off with an amusing visual picture -- five ladies in loud, '20s-style dresses and hats -- but quickly degenerated due to a paucity of movement invention or sustained humor.
Alvin Mayes' pseudo-Oriental "Tako" and company member Janet Beller's obscure, Angst-filled solo "Dialectics of Memory" completed this dismal program.