TED, the professional dance company of Towson State University, is at heart a repertory dance company, although its works are dominated by those of local artists rather than choreographers of national stature.
This weekend TED christened its new theater at Stephens Hall with a rather uneven program of eight choreographic offerings. With the exception of "Witch Dance," which was seen in the first half, and the final work, "Moments," the second half of the evening was more challenging artistically and intellectually.
While the dancers' performances were all smooth, they were also for the most part lacking a punch and a drive.
The notable exception was "Witch Dance," a reconstruction of Mary Wigman's work performed by Leslie Weiss Tinios with just the right mixture of vigorous abandon and grasping fanaticism.
Susan Leslie Grubb's "Elf-Wood" and Jaye Knutson's "Gazing at the Other" had outstanding choreography and dancing.
"Elf-Wood," a trio for Ms. Grubb, Barbara Rinaldo and Ms. Tinios, was a musically effective and charming dance that was enthralling in its ability to capture a sense of magic and fleeting mystery.
"Gazing at the Other," performed by Linda Daniel, Debra K. Lazo, Debbie Rothschild and Amanda Thom Woodson, was a colorful and expressive work that skillfully fragmented a single movement into a myriad of components. Here a subtle weight change is given dramatic momentum. For Ms. Knutson the little things add up to complete the picture.
Unfortunately, the redeeming moments were few and far between for the remainder of the program. "Survivor" by Myrna Packer and Art Bridgman, suffered from a case of rubber stamp choreography. Repetitive images and movements lead into a maze. Yet "Survivor" did have an emotionally connected ending even though one was forced to wade through overt sentimentally to get to it.
TED brings together several of Baltimore's finest performers sharing the spotlight with TSU faculty and alumni. You can catch TED tonight at 8 p.m. at Towson State.