Clifford's choreography is strong, stirring

November 23, 1992|By J.L. Conklin | J.L. Conklin,Contributing Writer

Goucher College's weekend dance program featured two works by renowned choreographer and one-time principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, John Clifford.

Mr. Clifford's two stirring ballets, "Concerto pour la Nuit" and "Blessed Spirits," plus local choreographer Kathi Ferguson's romantic ballet ballad, "One Man's Story," tipped the aesthetic scales in favor of ballet as being the stronger suit of dances presented by Goucher faculty and students. While the contemporary pieces were performed with diligence and verve, the heart and soul of the concert belonged to ballet. Goucher faculty member Amanda Thom Woodson served up her lighthearted and quirky dance, "Hush Puppy, (Because Good Girls Don't)," that brought cheers for the comic antics that

satirized the world of fashion. Goucher teacher Juliet Forrest provided her highly conceptual, deconstructed piece "Mein Weg hat Gipfel und Wellentaler."

These professional offerings were supplemented with the auspicious contemporary work by Goucher students Beth Veach, Nicole Prise and Jayme Kay Klinger.

Both of Mr. Clifford's dances demonstrated his considerable choreographic abilities and his penchant for taking a simple movement theme, elaborating and underlining it with a gracious elegance and symmetrical acumen. Watching both dances, one was aware of Balanchine's influence, but Mr. Clifford's works are not reheated Balanchine.

"Blessed Spirits" was danced with professional demeanor by Dinah Gray, Phyllis Greenwood, Amy McCall and Jill O'Donnell (on loan from Towson State University). "Concerto pour la Nuit" to music by Ravel was the program's highlight not only for Mr. Clifford's spellbinding choreography but also for the terrific and spirited dancing of all the 10 women in the dance. John Phelps-Steele, the man around whom the dance revolved, had all the right moves but needed more confidence to shine as the ruler of the dance.

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