Kinetics Dance Theatre, under the artistic direction of Alvin Mayes, premiered three works during the company's spirited performance last weekend at the Howard County Center for the Arts.
Mr. Mayes, new to this job, closed the evening of seven dances with his latest, "Zooming," an abstract and buoyant work for nine dancers to the fanciful saxophone of Lenny Pickett. With its erratic and whimsical walks and stop-and-go dynamics, "Zooming" gave the company the chance to show just how well it is shaping up -- technically as well as choreographically.
Mr. Mayes has significantly increased the company's repertoire by adding works by guest choreographers Janet Hamburg, Takami Craddock and Patricia Krauss, and he's also fortified it with new dancers -- Shari Smigo and Michelle Jean Rudolph.
Ms. Rudolph's well-performed solo, "The Space Around and Within" -- choreographed by Ms. Hamburg to music by Eugene Friesen -- was a skillful work with full and lush arcs of movements were contrasted with small, convoluted gestures.
The talented Ms. Smigo was featured along with Joann Shay O'Neill in Mr. Mayes' hyper-dramatic work "Glass Houses," to music by Phillip Glass. Unfortunately, poor costuming detracted from the women's eerie, ominous and spellbinding performance.
Kinetic's program was halved with dances of a more serious grain offered first; more light-hearted works followed.
Opening the second half, Ms. Krauss' "Alan in Wonderland" was an audience pleaser that detailed the more comic aspects of a love triangle. Ms. Rudolph and Lori Layne comically competed for the attention of Isiaih Davis.
Besides the regular company, the Kinetics Apprentice Dancers solidly performed in "Wind Dance," a lovely new work by Ms. Craddock, a West Coast choreographer, as well as the jazzy "Offbeat of the Avenues," by the company's founder and executive director, Dorothy Fried.
As a company, Kinetics has taken several giant steps toward charm and distinction.