Scope Dancers, a young troupe, shows promise for growth Scope has potential.


November 04, 1991|By J. L. Conklin

In the intimate upstairs gallery at the Maryland Art Place, 10 young women known as the Scope Dancers gave a full-out performance of choreography by Edna D. Simmons-Bennett Saturday night as part of a series of performances hosted by New Breezes Inc.

New Breezes promotes the artistic endeavors of local minority artists. Its director, Alma Roberts, has put together various performances of local poets, writers, musicians, sculptors, painters and dancers. The one-time performance by dancers affiliated with Coppin State University, while difficult at times to see (a gallery is not a stage), gave the audience a chance to appreciate the hard work of Ms. Bennett and her dancers.

Ms. Bennett's choreographic proclivities fall toward the jazz end of the dance spectrum, with specific nods to modern choreographers Alwin Nikolais and Alvin Ailey.

The four dances shown ranged from the carefully choreographed opening excerpt, "Journey," with its ritualized and studied body isolations, to the more modern "Life Force," which depicted the evolution of life from a one-cell animal to sentient being. Next, the jazzy and jaded dance, "On Men," depicted three women with a "serious attitude" about men. Last, the evening closed with the Ailey-inspired "In the Spirit" -- a full-blown celebratory suite of five dances to the music of the Rev. James Cleveland and the Pentecostal Choir and Edwin Hawkins.

This is a company that is still stretching its wings. While the dancers were not always on the same level of proficiency, Ms. Bennett is lucky to have several true performers in her troupe. The Scope Dancers are a company with great potential, and it will be a pleasure to watch them grow.

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