Regional dance talent showcased at Columbia festival


Some of the best regional dance talent was seen last night as the Columbia Festival of the Arts rounded up Kinetics Dance Company, the Dance Dimension and Kathy Wildberger for a performance at Wilde Lake High School.

The lengthy program of seven dances spotlighted the breadth of local talent (both choreographically and technically) and gave an overview of diverse choreographic styles.

The first half of the evening was dominated by works by Marilyn Byers, artistic director of Dance Dimension. The second half featured three dances by Alvin Mayes, artistic director of Kinetics. Sandwiched between was the single solo, "Snow Angel," danced with great feeling by choreographer/dancer and now New Yorker Kathy Wildberger.

It was Ms. Wildberger's pristine solo that was the highlight of the program. Her concentration and performance skills were wonderful in this abstract, evocative work that ably captured a full range of feelings. Ms. Wildberger is genuine in her approach to her subject matter, and her snow-inspired images ring true.

Ms. Byers' imaginative three dances, "Temptations," "Rainforest" and "Silk," contain a wealth of movement and information, almost too much.

"Rainforest," the opening work, was Ms. Byers' eco-dance for seven dancers and created a primeval atmosphere with its set of five widely spaced vertical tubular hangings where two pairs of dancers writhed and undulated.

While the movements were often imaginative, they didn't always jibe with the atmosphere. "Rainforest" just seemed to get under way when the music stopped.

If "Rainforest" missed its mark, then "Temptations," an overblown and lengthy treatise, overshot its. Long after the dance had made its point, the dancers were still dancing.

Kinetics closed the evening with three works, "Onyx," and two premieres, "Landings" and "Banished." "Onyx," a work for seven women, is cleverly concerned with social relations. Mr. Mayes is very astute; his meandering dancers find themselves in a tight diagonal across the stage, only to break up and follow their singular paths. Yet while the foundation is expertly worked, the middle section needs bolstering.

Andrea Pozzi and Luke Loy were featured in the bittersweet duet, "Banished," a simple and strong pas de deux based on Adam and Eve.

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