The Towson Ensemble Dancers (TED), the dance collective at Towson State University, gave a remarkably solid program of works over the weekend at Stephens Hall Theatre. The seven dances created by TED members stood shoulder to shoulder with guest choreographer Marcus Schulkind's work, "Ladies Night Out."
"Ladies Night Out" was a demanding piece that relied heavily on strong technique and the emotional range of its dancers. Three solos, expertly danced by Dana J. Martin, Nancy Wanich-Romida and Amanda Thom Woodson, peeled back Mr. Schulkind's classically attuned movements to expose the raw and angry psyche of the three women.
The balance of the program belonged to TED. Opening the evening was Ms. Martin's "Desert Night," a wonderfully atmospheric paean to open spaces. Ms. Martin focused her vision alongside that of composer Kathleen Peirson. The result was fresh and appealing.
Ms. Romida's "Weeping Rocker," with an original score by Vivian Adelberg Rudow, was an emotional and dramatic piece that portrayed the spirit's struggle against old age. Ms. Romida's and Ms. Martin's strong performances brought a warm response from the audience.
Susan Leslie Grubb's two dances, "Homeland" and "Aquarium," demonstrated her choreographic versatility. "Homeland" was a multimedia affair with video and music by John Bright Mann. Ms. Grubb and her dancers watched, swayed and reacted to images of American history such as Kent State, Vietnam and the Gulf War. The dance ended softly, as if Ms. Grubb were weighed down, unable to rise to a resolution.
Curiously, the same can be said of "Aquarium," whose bright and flashy movements were finely focused. Yet despite its wonderful set, music and invention, the dance lacked a strong final image.
Strong images are not a problem for Jaye Knutson, whose offerings -- "Be Fallen" and "Rendering With 4 Voices" -- were the highlight of the evening.
"Be Fallen" was a seductive, aggressive duet. "Rendering," a brilliant piece of choreography, clustered four solos with differing moods around a central quartet.