Every now and then a performance comes along that restores one's faith in modern dance. The final event of the Baltimore Museum's Off the Walls series, featuring the extraordinary talents of Daniel Ezralow along with Ann Carlson, Frey Faust, Lisa Giobbi, Timothy Harding, Oguri, Peter Pucci, Tero Saarinen and Morleigh Steinberg, was one of those moments.
Mr. Ezralow, noted for his unconventional choreography with groups such as Momix and ISO, and his group of artists performed 12 works that were varied and often astounding. Mr. Ezralow's dances, three duets featuring Ms. Steinberg, went from the ridiculous pratfalls in "Hoover Hallucinations" through the dead-eyed view of marriage in "I Do" to the sublime soaring in the closing work, an excerpt from "Night Thoughts."
The charismatic Mr. Saarinen brilliantly performed "B 12," which was choreographed for the artist by Finnish choreographer Jorma Uotinen. "B 12" expertly blended elements of classical technique and imagery with Japanese theatrical sensibilities. Mr. Saarinen's attention to detail and strong musical acumen as he presented his dichotomy of grace and clumsiness was awe-inspiring and brought cheers from the audience.
"Fall from Grace" had the audience holding its collective breath as Ms. Giobbi and Mr. Harding were suspended above the audience on a trapeze. Moving to one of Puccini's arias, the couple slowly and artfully draped their bodies across the bar, until Ms. Giobbi literally slid down the ropes, across Mr. Harding's body and was held suspended horizontally by her partner's hands on her hips before gently slipping to the floor.
Ms. Giobbi's solo, "Falling Angel," was another work where our imagination was stretched. Ms. Giobbi, harnessed to a large black backdrop, gave the illusion of floating in space. As she slowly arched and stretched her limbs, Ms. Giobbi effectively created the terrifying image of her body being hurled headlong through space.
The intricate blending of Indonesian dance and yoga movements -- limber movements and one-legged balances -- was the focal point in Frey Faust's work, "Quest."
Baltimore native Peter Pucci presented the opening work, "Rapt," a humorous streetwise dance redolent with hand gestures and attitudes, and "Sing," a physical interpretation of the title. Ann Carlson's provocative "Visit Woman Move Story Cat Cat Cat" and her boisterous auction/revival, "Sold," rounded out the evening.
The only complaint one could have was that this group performed only once in Baltimore.