The Towson Ensemble Dancers (or TED), presented their fall concert last weekend at Towson State's Stephens Hall Theatre with dances created with the collective spirit in which the company takes pride.
The company has no single artistic vision to guide it. Consequently, the choreography is influenced by dominant personalities. Last weekend, those personalities were Towson faculty members Jaye Knutson, Deborah Meyers, Dana J. Martin and Alex Sidorowicz, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications.
The first half of the program of six dances was less successful than the second. Opening the evening was the premiere of Ms. Knutson's "Koffee Klatch." It was a light-hearted, weakly brewed dance that dealt with caffeine-injected conversation among three women. Ms. Knutson, Ms. Meyers and Kathleen Connolly languidly stretched and yawned until jolted into hyperactivity by coffee.
Next was "April 19th," an improvisation for Ms. Meyers, Mr. Sidorowicz and Ms. Knutson. Based on the events that occurred on that date two years apart -- the Waco incident and the Oklahoma bombings -- the work focused on fervid imagery set to the militaristic music of Philip Glass' score from "Mishima" and the over-used "Adagio for Strings" by Samuel Barber. The work is an incoherent lump of emotional goo.
Guest artist Ann L. Rodiger's structured improvisation, "Scrabble," rounded out the first half. This esoteric exercise for dancers and musicians was deftly performed by a pick-up ensemble that included Diana Curran, Miriam Green, Ms. Connolly, Ms. Knutson and Ms. Meyers.
The choreography picked up in the second half, starting with Ms. Martin's lyrical work "Distant Visions," created for herself, Terry Duncan, Laura LaGreca, Joy Stauber and Ms. Knutson. With a nod to Martha Graham's American dances, Ms. Martin created a lively, interesting work replete with space-eating leaps and large, quick turns.
Two works by Ms. Meyers -- "An Inch of Time, A Foot of Jade" and "Ginger Becomes a Feminist, Fred's Not Happy" -- displayed her penchant for pushing beyond choreographic lines. "An Inch" blended the film image of a man rowing a boat with the live performances of Mr. Sidorowicz, Ms. Meyers and Mr. Duncan. "Ginger" featured the choice tap dancing of Mr. Darrell Moultrie in a send-up of the famous couple.
Yet the feeling I came away with was not of TED, a collective dance company, but rather TED, a tight clique of performers who indulge themselves with their art.