OVER THE PAST decade, Washington dance enthusiasts have tracked Sharon Wyrrick's progress eagerly. As a graduate student in the dance department of American University, this petite and elegant mover already exhibited a strong choreographic sense. Her early works, though fairly traditional, exuded a cool, slighty mysterious air shot through with an almost palpable intelligence. Gradually, Wyrrick expanded her definition of "modern dance" to include words, elaborate props and a more pared-down gestural vocabulary. She took great pleasure in wedding her dances to all sorts of sound, everything from Lene Lovich to the minimalists to the commissioned scores of local composers. And, despite financial woes and an ever-changing roster of company members, she took on a series of large projects dealing with love, loss and other pressing issues in clever, bittersweet ways.
Wyrrick's most recent theatrical images, and the latest incarnation of her Full Circle Dance Company (five members, the choreographer included) will be on stage Friday at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater in a program co-produced by the Washington Performing Arts Society and the center. They'll perform her new group piece "Cantiones Profanae," to the roof-raising songs from Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana." Wyrrick will also offer a section from "Storyboard for an Anxious Journey," in which she employs storytelling, imaginative visual effects and movement to forge connections between the personal and the political.
Wyrrick is one of this city's cutting-edge types, a rare breed in staid Washington. In New York, however, trailblazers are a dime a dozen, so it takes something special to be singled out for praise. Much-lauded choreographer-dancers Donald Flemming, Paul Langland, Sarah Skaggs and David Vambrano, who share a program entitled "Urban Views" at Dance Place this weekend, are artists who work far outside the mainstream. All revere the improvisatory route to creation, the risk and exhilaration involved in that form. Flemming and Vambrano, contrasting in appearance but like-minded in their riveting and sensitive approach to the art of partnering, will present "Los Que Se Fueron/ Those Who Went," a collaboration rooted in wartime experiences.
Skaggs and Flemming will join forces in her "Prelude for Salome," a tender duet with religious overtones in which she plays a dreamily possessed woman to his calm and steadying rock. Langland, for many years a member of avant-garde master Meredith Monk's company, will present excerpts from his multi-media piece "The Ghost of a Flea," which includes a film of magnetic resonance images and a succession of exacting minimalist movements performed by the choreographer and Gail Turner.
SHARON WYRRICK/FULL CIRCLE DANCE COMPANY --
Friday at 7:30 at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Call 202/467-4600.
URBAN VIEWS --
Works by Donald Flemming, Paul Langland, Sarah Skaggs and David Vambrano. Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 4 at Dance Place, 3225 Eighth St. NE. Call 202/269-1600.