PERFORMING DANSCOMPANY Hayes/Christensen Theatre, Marriott Center for Dance, University of Utah, May 16-18 and May 23-25 at 8 p.m.
In its current spring concert, the Performing Danscompany the U.'s modern dance showcase, pre-sents a series of vignettes that run the gamut of modern dance. With Ford Evans as artistic director, the company's dancers look sleek and well-rehearsed, and equal to their challenge in this program, which offers many individuals an opportunity to excel.Probably most striking is Della Davidson's award-winning "Angels and Clay," with its flying sequence and many contrasting visual effects, vividly superimposing white upon black. More exactly, the clay-colored figures of the dancers stand out in stark contrast to their background, highlighted by Danianne Mizzy's inspired lighting, and their loose-fitting costumes add to a simple, classic, almost extra-terrestrial effect.
Davidson stays close to her theme of contrasting the spiritual and physical, as the dancers group in synchronized movement, then break into trios, couples or solos and interact, sometimes tensely, sometimes with a trancelike deliberateness. Philip Glass's music is the effective complement.
The couple who fly suggest poignantly the separation between the real and the ideal - only able to grasp hands and unite occasionally, more often winging through space in a lonely search. Davidson's choreographic vocabulary is repetitive, but perhaps intentionally so, given the reflective nature of the piece.
Nothing of Doris Humphrey's is ever routine; it may look a little dated, busy or stiff by today's standards, but her works always have a blueprint, invested with characteristic vitality, vigor and vision.
Such is the case with "Brandenburg," her last piece, which had to be completed by Ruth Currier - a piece as carefully structured as the accompanying contrapuntal music of Bach's Fourth Brandenburg Concerto. The full company moves on, off and about a circular platform, scarlet streamers sometimes defining the spaces. They bounce and exude the vigor of this piece.
"A Gathering for Eight" provides Donna White with a welcome choreographic outing, which derives special impetus from music by Kevin Votans, tellingly performed by the Kronos Quartet.
It underscores the vitality of the group, as dancers split off, then recombine, centering around Ford Evans' patriarchal figure. With its colorful, peasantlike costumes, "Gathering" seems firmly and vibrantly rooted in the earth.
Opening the program is Lynne Wimmer's "Tehillim," set to evocative Steven Reich music, and filled with inventive choreographic figurations in light, swooping movement. - By Dorothy Stowe