Talented Mackin troupe makes a splash

October 26, 1994|By J. L. Conklin | J. L. Conklin,Special to The Sun

The Kimberly Mackin Dance Company's performance Saturday at the Baltimore Museum of Art confirmed what most dance fans in this city already know -- there is a pool of local dance talent worth nurturing here. True, it is a small pool, but it is steadily growing.

The program of six dances opened with "Crazy Eights," a work for musicians who neatly rendered composer Robert Macht's blend of jazz and Gamelon percussion.

All of Ms. Mackin's dances were skillfully crafted and well-performed, but it was company member Binnie Ritchie Holum in the premiere of her "UR Sonata" who gave one of the best performances seen on stage in Baltimore this fall.

"UR Sonata" was rooted in the sound poem "Sonate in Urlauten" by Kurt Schwitter, based on a dada poster created by Raoul Hausmann. The nonsensical combination of sounds was given life by the masterful reading by musician Bill McQuay and the brilliant dancing by Ms. Holum, who matched her movements to the fractured sounds, giving witty play and dramatic interpretation to the rhythms of the poetry.

Two of Ms. Mackin's new dances -- "Cado Noche (Sweet Night)" and "Fast Riding" -- were straightforward works that demonstrated the choreographer's ability in weaving small dramas within her choreographic framework.

"Cado Noche," expertly danced by Ms. Mackin and co-choreographer Gary David Shaw, created an atmosphere of tropical romance with the Latin rhythms of music by Strunz and Farah and movements that blended modern dance with the samba and tango.

"Fast Riding," danced by Chris Anderson, Stanford Carter, Luke Loy and Mr. Shaw, was accompanied by a group of musicians who adroitly played composer Robert Macht's fast-paced music. Ms. Mackin has an innate sense of what works rhythmically, and while the dance could use a bit of polishing, the shifting motifs of African dance inspired movements that vibrantly adhered to the music.

And Ms. Mackin's lighthearted "Mother Goosed -- A Flight at the Opera" was theatrical in its use of props and original operatic score by Mr. Macht. For a premise that initially seemed juvenile, Ms. Mackin pulled off her delightful nursery rhyme spoof with a demented glee.

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