UMBC dancers skip from irony to hip-hop

May 16, 1994|By J. L. Conklin | J. L. Conklin,Special to The Sun

The University of Maryland at Baltimore Spring Dance Showcase presented a collection of eight dances choreographed by students and faculty members this weekend at the UMBC Theater. The program ran the gamut from the multimedia work "Opening Ceremony," choreographed by Elizabeth Walton, chair of the university's Dance Department, to stu- dent Eric Jenkins' hip-hop dance, "Jagged Edge."

Of the student dances, "God Set Fire" with music, choreography and performance by Robert Head and "A Silly Thing Called Love" by Emily Giza were the most auspicious.

Mr. Head's solo was a strong and evocative work, and while his performance skills are still under development, both his music and choreography are above average.

Ms. Giza offered two dances, "What is this Silly Thing Called Love," a duet for herself and Mr. Jenkins, and "For Charlotte," a solo danced to "Sorge nel Petto" by Handel and sung by Charlotte Rose Giza. Of the two works, the duet was more interesting dance. Ms. Giza's exploration of boy/girl relationships had Ms. Giza and Mr. Jenkins engaged in a series of chases while Johnny Mathis crooned in the background, "It's Not For Me To Say." This dance had an ironic bite to it; the violent manner in which the dancers pursued one another was in contrast to the blatant romance of the song.

Ms. Giza's solo, " For Charlotte," while studiously performed, lacked the freedom of the solo. Here, the repetition and the movements felt more academic than true.

Faculty member Karen Katrinic offered up "The Forties," an entertaining and well-crafted Busby Berkeley-style dance featuring 20 dancers all moving to big band sounds. In three excerpts from an untitled work in progress, with its exotic rhythms and simple, repetitious movements choreographed by faculty member Kristin O'Shee and danced by Mr. Head, Autumn Lucas and Lynette Rawlings gave the promise of good things to come. And an excerpt from David Rousseve's work "Crossings" was nicely performed by Ms. Giza, Tracy Boyles, Zack Fuller, Teresa Campitelli and Mr. Jenkins.

Mr. Jenkins' own work, "Jagged Edge," closed the evening on an upbeat note. Danced with MTV moves to music by Janet Jackson by Ms. Giza, Jeannine Graham, Romulus "Lucky" Patterson Jr., Sandi Walker and Mr. Jenkins, this work, with its frankly sexual hip gyrations and too-hot-to-handle attitude, had audience members squealing in delight. Mr. Jenkins understands one of the basic tenets of performance . . . keep the audience wanting more.

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