New dance troupe steps out at BMA


Local choreographers and performers Nancy Wanich-Romita and Kimberly Mackin packed the Baltimore Museum of Art Saturday night with a concert of well-crafted and expertly performed choreography. The evening was enhanced by a new dance by Next Ice Age choreographer Nathan Birch and an exotically flavored musical number by percussionist and composer Robert Macht.

Ms. Mackin, formerly with the long gone but not forgotten Naked Feet dance troupe, premiered three works.

Ms. Wanich-Romita, the artistic director of the newly formed group that performed Saturday, The Moving Company, provided a retrospective of her accomplishments.

Ms. Mackin and Ms. Wanich-Romita's works were complemented by skilled performances, specifically the dancing of Amanda Wood Thomson, Binnie Ritchie Holum, Dana J. Martin, Luke Loy and Stanford Carter Jr.

Ms. Mackin's dances all have a theatrical flair for fantasy in subject matter, costuming and set design. From the flamenco of "3 Women," to the razzle-dazzle, rag-time dancing of "Charm City Cotillion" to the billowing silk that formed the set in "Life Long," Ms. Mackin's choreographic sensibilities and her ability to embrace cultural identities would have garnered approval of the seminal choreographer Ruth St. Denis.

Down-to-earth realities form the armature of Ms. Wanich-Romita's finely crafted works. She obviously believes dance is meant to communicate, and her works are witty and profound, sad and funny commentaries on the human condition. In "Passages," the work goes from celebrating the spirit of femininity in "Whisper Rain, Sister, Stone" to a witty gossip fest in "2nd Reflections in a Stream." In "Weeping Rocker" the spirit of youth juxtaposed with the image of enfeebled age was an emotionally powerful and dramatic statement. In addition, Ms. Wanich-Romita presented her surreal vision of life in the suburbs with "Lesser Homes and Better Gardens," created in 1992.

"Carve" by Mr. Birch was given a wonderful performance by Binnie Ritchie Holum. Abstract in nature with elements of a cartoon, Mr. Birch relies on patterns and repetition interspersed with the odd pose. Music by Piazzolla gave a quirky almost Miro-like quality to the dance.

This was the second concert produced by independent choreographers at the BMA. Hopefully this is the beginning of a trend.

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