Despite the wealth of talent embedded in the Towson Ensemble Dancers, the program of seven premieres presented alongside the work of New York choreographer Stuart Pimsler Saturday and Sunday at Towson State University's Stephens Hall Theatre demonstrated that the personable collective still has far to go choreographically.
This was made clear by seeing Mr. Pimsler's work "Islands" after those of T.E.D.'s.
Mr. Pimsler's dance was so far ahead of T.E.D.'s fare that the balance of the group's dances paled in comparison.
Sophisticated and intriguing thematically, choreographically and musically, Mr. Pimsler's skill was able to lift the performances of dancers Dana J. Martin, Jaye Knutson,Phil Couch, Susan Leslie Grubb and Deborah Meyers to another level.
T.E.D.'s program ranged from the dramatic to the light-hearted.
Highlights of the evening -- presented as part of the Dance on the Edge Series -- included "Less Than a Grasp," by Ms. Grubb.
The abstract study was deftly danced by Ms. Grubb and Ms. Martin.
Slow sensuous stretches were juxtaposed with the thrill of a collapse and nicely (if somewhat predictably) glued to the phrasings of John Bright Mann's score.
Of Jaye Knutson's two dances, "Lovelust" and "Shindig," the latter was the more successful.
"Lovelust" with its erotic overtones lacked sculptural interest,with Ms. Knutson and Mr. Couch rolling all over each in a self-absorbed way. Ms. Knutson's work has lost its punch.
"Shindig," a cliche-ridden, country-boy trio featuring Dennis Price, Mr. Couch and Jeff Rebudal was pleasantly lighthearted, but not up to Ms. Knutson's past works.
Karen Bradley's humorous "Shared Governance" could have been titled "Martha Graham Meets Monday Night Football."
A panel of three sports commentators -- Mr. Couch, Larry Malkus and Jimi Kinstle -- provided play by play, background color and plenty of jokes, while T.E.D. members performed on stage. Clever in concept, witty in script, the commentators stole the show.