Passion and good dancing is an irresistible combination and the program D.C. Dance Theater presented Wednesday night at the Kennedy Center had both in good measure. This is an appealing company whose members dance from the heart.
All four works at the Terrace Theater were choreographed by Artistic Director Juan Carlos Rincones, a native Venezuelan who's spent his adult life dancing in this community. Rincones is developing into a master of his craft--his dances are solidly constructed with no confusion or wasted movement. They're easy on the eye, although there's always something going on beneath the surface.
There were two premieres. "A Fuego Lento," a duet for two men to music by Horacio Salgan, began with a long solo for Rincones, which showed him as a man confident yet incomplete. He danced it with the precision and fluid control of a virtuoso. A solo for the second man, Bruno Augusto, was more languid yet still powerful. Both were dressed in black and wore white masks, adding to the work's sense of mystery. The rest of the dance was a tango, part flirtation and part combat.
The second premiere, "Morning Song," a solo for Heidi Romero to music of Richard Harvey, was less fully realized. Romero danced reflectively, wearing a long dress the color of moonlight (costumes for both premieres were by Bruce Manilla). Yet both the dancing and the motivation for it seemed merely sketched.
The solo suffered in comparison with "Alegrias," the vivacious dance for five women to music of Joaquin Rodrigo that had opened the program. Rincones is one of the few men choreographing today who make dances for women as though they actually like them, and "Alegrias" is an essay on allure. It's a rehearsal of seduction, and the women stamp, swish their skirts and swirl about, experimenting with their wiles on each other while dancing as though for unseen, unsuspecting men. Alison Crosby, one of Washington's most accomplished dancers, with a lush sense of movement and a sure command of the stage, was especially striking here.
The program closed with "Torrentes" (1996), an ambitious, complex group work to Samuel Barber's Piano Concerto, Op. 38. The long opening movement was ill-served by its costumes: red-orange unitards that made the dancers look lumpy and shortened their limbs, making their movements heavy and counteracting the effect of the choreography, which seemed built on line and lightness. The slow center section was especially effective, with a mysterious, underwater quality; the final section, satisfyingly explosive.