BMA program shows off dance diversity


Local choreographers Marsha Tallerico and Nancy Havlik pooled their resources to present a program of dances at the Baltimore Museum of Art during the weekend that exemplifies the diversity of talent available in Baltimore.

Both choreographers pick their way through the wild and woolly aesthetics of "performance art" and lace their works with compelling and challenging images. But the imagery was not always coherent, and the audience was too often left with a work that simply ended without a sense of resolution, somewhat like being in an art gallery and someone suddenly turning off the lights.

The program of eight dances included four from each choreographer. Ms. Tallerico premiered two works, "(fig. 5)" and her closing solo, "Train." Ms. Tallerico's potent new work contained emotionally based images of war and strife, but its overall impact was undermined by a weak ending.

One of the program's stronger dances was Ms. Havlik's "Disappearing Acts, Hidden Agenda and Other Magic Tricks," a quartet featuring Jessica Ames, Allison Ball, Annuel Dowdell Preston and Deirde Harriet Welsh. The lighthearted dance incorporated the old "Presto Chango" and "Now you see us, now you don't" tricks as the four women disappeared behind a folded screen. The fun here was in Ms. Havlik's often witty visual puns, along with a fine sense of timing that effectively drew the audience into a world of make-believe.

Almost in the same vein was Ms. Tallerico's "Concert in an Egg," an ironic reversal of the old adage, "Being born in trunk." Here, Ms. Tallerico and Laura Rowland molded the work around all manner of theatrical shtick -- from mime to vaudevillian antics -- until they became sadistic toward one another, cruelly bending and contorting one another's bodies until one disappeared into a trunk. "Concert in an Egg" has a visual and structural bite.

Ms. Havlik's "Seeds 1" and "Seeds 2" was basically a diptych separated by the intermission. The work was full of symbolism, from the hanging newspapers to the dancers' pedestrian-based gestures, but the effect was distancing and the ending mysterious.

"Train," Ms. Tallerico's quirky and humorous solo, closed the evening.

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