Towson State's dance concert by faculty, alumni looks familiar

March 14, 1994|By J. L. Conklin | J. L. Conklin,Special to The Sun

The second annual Towson State University Alumni and Faculty Dance Concert opened its two-day run in Burdick Hall's intimate studio space Friday night. Conceived as a means for current TSU dance students to become acquainted with the choreographic or performance successes of past TSU affiliates, this program fell behind the promises of the first concert.

In fact, in many respects it was a duplicate of the first, with an improvisation by faculty members and the reappearance of the Doris Humphrey Repertory Company. TSU must have other alumni available, such as Sandra Prehoda, whose work "An Ancient Element" shows budding choreographic skills, and TSU faculty could perform something other than an improvisation. The concert is still a great idea; it just needs more thought and planning.

At the beginning of the improv piece "The Gigs," faculty member Jaye Knutson poses the question, "Why do you improv?" to her co-performers. Dance Chair Karen Bradley gave the most honest answer, "Because it's cheaper than therapy." But why must an audience sit through someone's therapy session?

Mino Nicolas, artistic director of the Doris Humphrey company, brought "Two Ecstatic Themes" by the company's namesake, cautiously performed by TSU graduate Amy Rink; and "Roads to Hell," a dance depicting the vices Pride, Envy, Sloth and Wrath that was danced with dramatic abandon by Randi Meares. It was choreographed by Eleanor King, a one-time student and member of the Humphrey-Weidman Company.

The Doris Humphrey company specializes in the reproduction of dances by the late seminal modern choreographer. The reconstruction process can't help but add to the original work, as well as deleting something.

Yet the works are instructive from a historic perspective.

The difference between the historic past and the immediate present was underlined by the two dances by guest faculty member Kista Tucker. Her work, "One," was an absorbing study of yin and yang, and "Rooms in the House" explored the darker side of motherhood.

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