'Fire and Rose are One' takes floor at Goucher

November 05, 1993|By J. L. Conklin | J. L. Conklin,Contributing Writer

Take one part myth and one part ritual, stir in a -- of hyperdrama and simmer with philosophy, and the result will look pretty much like what happened when Dance Process, a collective of performers featuring the work of Peter Madden and Janet Kaylo,took the floor at Goucher College last night for a weekend run

The hour--and -a-half program, intriguingly titled, "The Fire and the Rose are One," contains two works, "Pandora's Dilemma" choreographed by Mr. Madden (which contains references to both fire and roses) and "Hanbelachia" choreographed by Ms. Kaylo (which does not).

Of the two works shown, it was Ms. Kaylo's Southwestern-imbued "Hanbelachia" that was the stronger. Ms. Kaylo's choreography aptly conveyed a strong sense of time and place. Both works benefited from the talents of William Price, for lighting design, and Susan Mundth Nicolaides, for her often inspired costumes. In both works, dreams play a seminal part, but Ms. Kaylo works with her material finely composing a dance that evokes a spiritual Seeker's quest and the animal spirits who hear her cry.

While it is difficult to portray the essence of animal nature without getting strictly narrative, Ms. Kaylo makes a noble try. There is a fine line between pantomime and abstraction, and Erick Hawkins is the only performer I've seen do this.

Mr. Madden is wonderfully sinuous as "Snake Medicine;" he slithers and opens his mouth in a silent hiss, and the ensuing duet is replete with kinetic interplay between the couple. Following Mr. Madden was Anna Rider as "Coyote Medicine," and while if you didn't know what she was supposed to be you'd be lost (although Ms. Kaylo does place her on a rock to howl at the moon). When the two women dance together, the sense of playfulness in their duet was nicely realized. "Bat Medicine," danced by Eyvo Johnson, contained more energy than technical finesse. Yet, when Mr. Johnson covered Ms. Kaylo with his body and the pair tumbled across the floor, the moment was definitely potent.

"Pandora's Dilemma" choreographed by Mr. Madden explored ideas of myths and dream imagery and jumbled them together with snippets of music and poetry. Often Mr. Madden is frustratingly boring, and other times he zaps you with his imagery. The dilemma is the work, and regardless of the New Age overtones, Mr. Madden's choreography felt very much as if it had been conserved under a bell jar since 1967.

When we first see Mr. Madden, he is clad in a long black dress, with a large white veiled hat on his head, groping along the theater's walls. When he removes his veiling, Ms. Kaylo, Mr. Johnson, Ms. Rider and Victoria Norman join him in a hip-hop segue that dissipates when he dons a lace cap and becomes "Whistler's Mother."

At one striking moment, the dancers bind him to a chair with long red elastic ribbons, reminiscent of dances under the Maypole or sadistic blood rituals. When the dancers stretch their ribbons to the maximum and then let go, the effect is like releasing your breath after holding it with tension or waking from a dream.

Dance Process

When: Tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Where: Merrick Hall, Kraushaar Auditorium at Goucher College, Towson

Call: (410) 337-6154

K? Tickets: $12 general admission, $8 for students and seniors

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