Towson Ensemble dances display a wealth of styles

October 05, 1994|By J. L. Conklin | J. L. Conklin,Special to The Sun

The six dances that Towson Ensemble Dance presented during the weekend at Towson State University Stephens Hall Theatre aimed to please a diverse audience, and they were right on the mark.

Each thoughtfully constructed work was choreographed by Towson State part-time faculty members or their friends.

Opening the evening was "Distant Visions," choreographed by Dana J. Martin to folk-tune-inspired music by David Arkenstone. This group work, with alternating sections of duets, solos and group dances, was charged with wide-open movements and a fine sense of musicality.

One of the more tantalizing works presented was "Internal Exchange," a duet choreographed by Laura Cox featuring guest artists Juan Carlos Rincones and Beth Saidel. This provocative duet could be read as the personification of a round of conscience wrestling, with Ms. Saidel and Mr. Rincones performing intricate and well-conceived interlocking movements that held the audience spellbound.

"Locust Point," a theatrically attuned work choreographed by Susan Leslie Mann and based on interviews with people who had immigrated to Baltimore in the early part of this century, had a cinematic quality that was underlined when the stage was filled with a collage of dancers going about their daily business. Within a small framework, Ms. Mann adeptly captured the hopes, dreams and fears of Baltimore's early inhabitants.

Ms. Mann's skillful solo performance in "Double Times," by guest choreographer Jan Van Dyke, was spellbinding. Brian Eno's music painted a fluid aural background while Ms. Mann repeated a series of stop-motion poses. As the work progressed, the time lapse between the postures narrowed until Ms. Mann was moving as fluidly as the music.

Two duets by TSU faculty member Debbie Meyers rounded out TED's offerings. In a curious way, both dances were concerned with role reversals.

In "Sleep Pretty Baby," a work more attuned to performance art than dance, Phil Couch was suspended from the rafters and lowered. Mr. Couch moved to sounds by Alex Sidorowicz, who was playing a clarinet; then Mr. Couch hanged the musician by his middle. (Was it something he played?)

In the closing duet for herself and Mr. Couch, "Ginger Becomes a Feminist, Fred's Not Happy," Ms. Meyers allows her "Ginger" to wear suspenders and pants, grab her partner's buns, lead him through the dance, pick him up and make him do the dip. Ms. Meyers' "Ginger" is more macho than Fred ever was, and a lot less debonair.

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