A reckless, daring willfulness was apparent in the dancing of Janice Haws and Keith Johnson, when they first became members of Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company; and they haven't chickened out over the years. They still dance as clean and sharp as stilettos - fearlessly, charged with total intensity and intention.
Their thesis concert is an entertaining and exciting evening of dance, as they perform the choreography of others, and choreograph for good dancers from the U. modern dance department. Skillfully chosen music from many inventive sources complements the dancing.Johnson shows himself a consequential choreographer in the opening "Journeys," a work of lyric suppleness with Oriental references. The four dancers come on strong and proud, then Haws does a sinuous floor solo. An incisive quartet highlighted by many arresting body shapes yields to a nocturnal duet for Haws and Paul Callihan - lyric, fluid and amorous, with some sensational balances between the two and seductive body lines.
Amy Spencer and Richard Colton choreographed "L'embarquement," a mime-solo for Johnson, set to a witty litte Gallic sonata by Poulenc. Both music and movement suggest Johnson as a lighthearted but purposeful Harlequin, full of plastic movement and funny stances.
Johnson's "Unannounced Interruptions," a street-wise, even suspenseful dance for five, has plenty of lean, pointed movement, always at a high energy level, suggesting street gangs. Then again it's just jazzy good fun but filled with rough play.
His "Skeletons" has a dash of brilliance in its staging among exposed frames of umbrellas, silvery in the dim light, and Kim Johnson evokes a haunting Oriental presence when she moves in this ghost world. In Keith Johnson's "Sad Clown," Pat Debenham quite movingly shows the schizophrenic decline of a man in a gray flannel suit into the tragic realities of his inner compunctions.
Val Caniparoli has played on Haws' beautiful, fluent body as if it were violin strings in "A Door is Ajar," set to a slow and fast movement by the Kronos Quartet. Movement ripples through the whole body, which seems to have no separate parts, then breaks into an abandoned gypsy sort of dance.
Haws' choreography, "It Breaks," showing the dissolution of a romance, features Debenham and Kathryn Elliot and Hindemith cello music. The idea of tender movements becoming fierce and hurtful is good but not entirely convincingly worked out. Her "Three Players" features women in "I enjoy being a girl" movement.
Johnson and Haws close with their only duet, "Listen Won't You" by Ford Evans. Dressed in skewed ballet attire they play off each other as brilliantly and dangerously as only they can, in a funny, raplike rhythmic romp.