The second showcase of local modern dance companies, seen at the Baltimore Museum of Art Saturday night, was a notch above last year's endeavor in both professionalism and choreographic invention.
The three companies that performed were the Baltimore Dance Collaborative, Nancy Havlik's Dance Performance Group and Chris Dohse/Toothmother.
One of the stronger works on the program of nine dances was "Vow: A Line Dance for Women, Black Dresses and Popular Culture" by Baltimore Dance Collaborative's Kathleen Murphy. This humorous appraisal of female roles was wonderfully performed by 14 women (dancers and non-dancers), whose coy poses were seen against the clingy lyrics of Toni Braxton.
Mr. Dohse is a compelling performer, and his "Mined Mind Heart's Hearse" was a forceful portrait of desperate hope. As a choreographer, Mr. Dohse has a strong sense of the sculptural -- creating groupings that have emotional content and allowing silence to become a major component in his work.
Ms. Havlik's quartet "Hearts Breath," danced to an undulating score by Steve Reich, veered away from her penchant for the abstract -- as seen in her other works on the program, "Remind Me to Remember to Tell You Something Before I'm Gone" or "Disappearing Acts, Hidden Agendas, and Other Magic Tricks." PTC "Hearts Breath" demonstrated Ms. Havlik's capacity for unison work and her group's strong cognizance of their ensemble.
Marsha Tallerico's work, "Salvage and Salvation," was provocative in its blending of movements taken from religious ritual and baseball. And Patricia Almirez's work in progress, "Quiet Passages, Precious Questions," while still rough around the edges, has potential.
If this concert is any indication of the progress these choreographers/performers have made, next year's event should be exceptional.