Phoenix dance group stages premieres


April 06, 1991|By J. L. Conklin

The Phoenix Repertory Dance Co., under the artistic direction of Carol Hess, nicely padded its already well-stocked repertoire of works with two company premieres -- one by New York City choreographer David Rousseve, "Caged Bird Singing in the Pale Moonlight," and one by resident choreographer Douglas Hamby, "Quintet."

Both recently acquired and older works were shown when the company, based at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, performed a program of seven dances Thursday and last night at the UMBC Theatre.

Mr. Rousseve's "Caged Bird" is a hot and steamy number vaguely reminiscent of Tennessee Williams. Sandra Lacey and Mr. Hamby are a magnetic couple whose aggressive couplings are contrasted by a chorus of four women who recite, with deadpan delivery, lyrics of the song, "Stop in the Name of Love," and Elvis Presley crooning, "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

At once humorous and pathetic, the couple get too much of one another and yet not enough.

"Quintet," a work for five women, trimly followed the roving score by

Scott Pinder.

Full of turns, spins, quick drops of weight and long extended limbs, the dance's four sections have a strong kinetic appeal.

One of Phoenix's strengths is dancer Sandra Lacey.

Her solo performance of a woman possessed in Daniel West's "He Made her Do It" was a tour de force. One senses that she knows what's normal but just can't curb her movements.

But even out of whack, Ms. Lacey's dancing is totally controlled.

A final performance is scheduled for 8 o'clock tonight at UMBC.

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