Kinetics goes collaborative


From a string quartet to a deftly assembled theatrical cast to an elegantly danced pas de deux from a great ballet, many of the most incandescent moments the performing arts have to offer are collaborative affairs.

It is to the spirit of collaboration that Kinetics Dance Theatre, the innovative modern dance ensemble based in Ellicott City, will tip its cap Saturday evening when it presents "Connecting: A Modern Dance Concert of Collaborations" at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Priscilla B. Kaufhold, Kinetics Dance company director since 1998, has brought together dancers and choreographers from North Carolina and Pennsylvania, Baltimore's Lexington Brass Quintet, guitarist Shawn Heming and painter Mary Jo Tydlacka for this multimedia celebration of the performing arts.

"So many talented people are coming together for this event that it's almost a little overwhelming," says Kaufhold, a graduate of American University who teaches costume design at Western Maryland College and Millersville University of Pennsylvania when she isn't managing the artistic fortunes of the local company. "We're all extremely excited to be part of the event. And what a luxury for our dancers to have the brass quintet and guitar on hand for live musical accompaniment. That will add a great deal."

This occasion also affords an opportunity for the principals to renew old personal and artistic friendships.

Barbara Dickinson, artistic director of the Ways and Means Dance Company of Durham, N.C., whose artists will join Kinetics for Saturday's program, was once Kaufhold's dance instructor at American University.

Perhaps this connection will yield a bit of artistic telepathy between the two companies that are collaborating on "Looking Forward," a piece choreographed by Dickinson. The Ways and Means director has incorporated eight dancers from both troupes into an affirming statement of life's varied possibilities.

The two sets of dancers may have learned the work separately, but the expectation is that they'll mesh nicely. "It's challenging, but very exciting to construct modern dance this way," says Kaufhold. "We think the results will be well worth it."

One of the most affecting collaborations on Saturday's bill is "Quintet," an experimental piece choreographed by Kaufhold in 1999 in honor of her company's 15th birthday. It was inspired by the vibrant energy evident in Tydlacka's oil painting "The Party," which will be on display at the museum for Saturday's performance.

"Quintet" will be danced to music by 17th-century German composer Samuel Scheidt.

Not only will the Lexington Quintet be on hand to play this zippy fare from the early Northern European baroque, it also will perform a 25-minute musical prelude to the concert. The live musical motif will continue with "Sanctuary," choreographed by Kinetics Dance Theatre member Victoria Francese, who conceived of her work as a dance solo set to the accented improvisations of a guitar.

Guest artist Heming will provide the accompaniment.

The setting at the Baltimore Museum of Art could not be more pleasing to the group's director. "It's always a thrill to perform dance in a beautiful theater with great acoustics for music," says Kaufhold. "It's just a lovely setting."

Howard County's Kinetics Dance Theatre joins other ensembles for "Connecting: A Modern Dance Concert of Collaborations" at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $12; $7 for students and seniors. Information and tickets: 410-480-1686.

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