Kinetic troupe dances with skill and drama at Columbia festival


June 19, 1993|By J. L. Conklin | J. L. Conklin,Contributing Writer

What better way to inaugurate the 10-day Columbia Festival of the Arts than to feature the home-grown talents of the Howard County-based Kinetic Dance Company? Last night's performance at Wilde Lake High School also included the fine talents of an ex-Baltimorean and current member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Gary-David Shaw.

Under the artistic direction of Dorothy Fried, this personable troupe has picked up a loyal following and has cultivated some young and very promising dancers. This is a company that has come a long way, and the program's seven dances contained several favorite works from the company's repertoire, including Sharon Wyrrick's "Ooo Baby, Baby," and Alvin Mayes' "Winter Sleep."

Also presented were works by Ms. Fried, Ann Brown and two premieres by the guest artists. Mr. Shaw provided not only his energetic African-inspired solo, "Monkey Dance," but also a one-act Spanish Gothic ballet, "Las Mujeres." Ms. Fried offered the opening work, "Reflections," to music by Vivaldi, and "How Can I Stop From Singing," to songs by Enya.

While Ms. Fried's works are decidedly distinct in temperament, they both give evidence as a studied craftsmanship. "Reflections" has matured into a solid piece of choreography, and Kinetic dancers Jennifer Blizzard, Luke Loy, David Miller, Brad Parquette, Anne Parshall and Amanda Thom-Woodson have formed a strong performance unit.

In both her dances, Ms. Fried uses snippets of gesture to underscore the dancing. In "Singing," the gestures are pulled from American Indian dances and decorative arts. The focus is on the arm, the pattern and the dancers' rhythmic hop-step.

"Singing" featured apprentice troupe members. An obvious hit with the audience, they danced with careful enthusiasm.

Mr. Shaw's ballet exhibited the fine dancing of Alicia Graf as the youngest of three daughters who is callously seduced by her oldest sister's suitor and then abandoned by her lover and her family.

Ms. Graf, who has been seen in several junior company dances, danced with seasoned performers Joanne Shay O'Neill, Ms. Thom-Woodson and Ms. Parshall with a self-confidence that matched her considerable talents.

Ms. Thom-Woodson is as much of an actress as a dancer, and this tale of betrayal and seduction lets her sink her teeth into all the dramatic fury of her character. Mr. Miller as the suitor has embarked on a path of steady technical improvement. Ms. Fried should indeed be proud of creating and sustaining local talent.

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