There were few surprises in Goucher College's ample program of dance this weekend.
The Goucher dance students showed a strong technical base -- which has been visibly improving over the past several years -- in the program of eight dances featuring guest artists John Clifford and Carolyn Dorfman as well as works by the college's faculty and students.
John Clifford's dances opened and closed the evening. His "Waltzes Remontiques," a light classical and unpredictably structured work that featured dancers Phyllis Greenwood, Amy McCall, Jane E. Overfield and guest artist Richard Richards, paled in comparison to his "Chairman Dances," which ended the program.
"Chairman Dances," a full-blown, sophisticated contemporary ballet for 10 women and five men, underscored Mr. Clifford's long association with the New York City Ballet. The knife-sharp NYC technique was given close approximation by the dancers, and Mr. Richards' bright performance brought applause from the audience.
Ms. Dorfman's contemporary work, "Signatures," dealt with the issue of personal style. Dancers Karin Bookbinder, Jayme Klinger, Amy Marshall, Jennifer Uccellini, Beth Veach and Nina Wolf expertly demonstrated their own individual skills with movements culled from those of African dance, street dance and MTV videos.
Goucher faculty member Kathi Ferguson's dance, "Three Sisters," was given a brilliant performance by dancers Ms. Greenwood, Ms. McCall and Ms. Overfield. This Gothic work of psychological intrigue between the three women is finely woven to the score by Ernest Chausson and the three women gave full
and meaty performances.
"Atsiagbeko," a dance of anthropological atmosphere and remote time and place that premiered in this program, was choreographed by Goucher faculty member Juliet Forrest to original music by Lynn F. Kowal.
Ms. Forrest's work, while finely choreographed and suggestive of tribal society and cultures, remained curiously distant and enigmatic.