Talented Outer Loop opens with a flourish

November 23, 1996|By J. L. Conklin | J. L. Conklin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Outer Loop Dance Collective gave an auspicious performance in its Baltimore debut at the Theatre Project Wednesday night.

The Collective's dancers -- Sandra Lacey, Pam Matthews, Cathy Paine and Beth Davis -- have a solid history of performance, and each has a defined style. The union of such strong talents gives the company a natural edge in our dance community.

Davis opened with the strongly interpretive dance "Through Alice's Window," choreographed by Laura Schandelmeier and set to the music of Gabriel Faure. Daviscreated an atmosphere of uncertain discovery as her body stretched or crumbled, but the work, with its overt emotionalism, was so reminiscent of that infamous dancer character by cartoonist Jules Feiffer that it felt almost a caricature of itself.

"Miss Cornell," an inspired Dada-esque dance choreographed by Davis and Amy Spencer, was punctuated by props and an eccentric sound score. Changing from infant to femme fatale, Davis delightfully channeled herself into each facet of the dance.

Sandra Lacey danced her signature work, "Touch the Frog" by Amy Pivar. This is a dance that improves with each performance, and Lacey's strength and technical abilities allow her the freedom to explore its nuances.

Lacey also danced the premiere of "Chameleon," a solo choreographed by Kathy Wildberger of New York to Spanish guitar music by Gino D'Auri. Armed with black plastic knee, elbow and wrist guards, Lacey was armored and ready to take on anything. As she smacked the wrist guards together or against her knees, she became a flamenco warrior of sorts, and the dance concluded with Lacey stripping herself of her armor, seeming to float, vulnerable and soft, in front of us.

Cathy Paine also provided a premiere with her solo "Then/Again," a sprawling rumination on her family history and the miracle of aging. Paine moves naturally through her spoken dialogue, as if she has always underlined her words with movement. Her solo improvisation, "Goldberg Variations: Into the Night," demonstrated her skillful way with gesture-based movement.

Paine also choreographed the only group work, "Wash," danced by Matthews, Davis and Lacey. Paine again used text as a springboard for her dance, and while the work began with a "Three Stooges" meets "Steel Magnolias" thrust, it eventually settled down into a respectable exploration of dependency, trust and loss.

Outer Loop

Where: Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St.

When: Today 8 p.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m.

Tickets: $14; $10 seniors; $8 students

$ Call: (410) 752-8558

Pub Date: 11/23/96

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