If there was a link among the nine very different dances presented at Dance Place's College Festival this weekend, it was the effort to do one thing and do it well. The result was a show that equaled many, and surpassed some, professional dance companies' seen here recently. Production values -- lighting, music and design -- were uniformly impressive; costumes were simple and appropriate; and the dancing was of a generally high caliber.
The level of choreography (by high school, undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty) varied, but even the less successful pieces were attentive to form. Though nothing on the program broke new ground, or even pointed in a new direction, several dances looked at old ideas in new ways.
American University's Smadar Weiss' "Two-ism" took that old cliche' the chair dance and added hints of dry wit, cruelty and affection to an imaginative movement study. "Two Alone," by Mabel Ferragut (University of Maryland-College Park), beautifully danced by Adina Wachman and John Dixon, was as much about watching and waiting as about being together. There were none of the tortured writhings of most contemporary "relationship dances" here, and the dance's wistful sweetness was conveyed by loose, easy movements.
Solos by Darla Heim and Ray Eliot of Virginia Commonwealth University both showed a preoccupation with undulation. Eliot's "Water (Section V)," inspired by a hurricane, was short and soon turned violent; Heim's "Quiet Voices," to music of George Crumb, was gentler, more hypnotic and danced with wonderful control.
Also on the program were: "A Serious Game," a baseball spoof by Annie Morabito (Montgomery College); "No One Sleeps," a lyrical dance to Puccini by Megan Anderson (Sandy Spring Friends School); "Third Home," something about lullabies, candles and Jane Fonda angels by George Washington University's Regina Ward; a solo, "In the Eye," by Deborah Goff (James Madison University); and the well-danced, though oppressively didactic, "Choices" of Naima Lewis (Howard University).