Hot Water

The second Dance Conduit concert -- a revue of several dance companies and the work of various choreographers from St. Louis, Columbia and Kansas City -- took place last weekend at the St. Louis Art Museum Auditorium. If anything, there may have been more dance than is reasonable for one evening, and a good deal of the choreography was rather insipid and samey.

The good stuff, however, was good indeed. David Marchant and Carrie Hanson's choreography and performance of "Mrs. Johnson Regrets," although wonky, is a dark but comic look at the guerrilla war between the sexes. The St. Louis Irish Arts performers gave us some traditional Irish step-dancing and clogging to live (and excellently played) music. A comic piece, "All Out," by the Aha! Dance Theatre from Kansas City was witty and imaginative. "Square Variation," choreographed by Ton Simons and performed by Lisa Morovitz-Geger (to whom the work is dedicated), gave us a rare look at a celebrated European choreographer's work. Draza Jansky's choreography and performance were strong and sure, and Maggi Konkel, performing a piece by Gary Hubler, is a dancer with presence and elegance -- let's see more of her.

The Davidson Dance Group's 1998 "Koinania," choreographed by Rob Davidson, was the evening's highlight, however, as it was at last year's Dance Conduit concert. Six dancers (four women and two men) moved most artfully to a Handel suite. The choreography seemed lush and economical at the same time, and the dance itself seemed completely of itself and the Handel. The Davidson Group's technique depended heavily on ballet training (as Francisco Graciano's impressive leaps demonstrated). The music was obviously the basis of the abstract motion, which was not the case in several of the evening's other pieces, in which the choreography corresponded to the music's rhythm but any music with the same rhythm could have done as well.

More (and more frequent) Dance Conduits are promised for the future. I would suggest that Morovitz-Geger aim for quality over quantity and perhaps drop the longish flower ceremony that ended the evening. But she can really do as she pleases as long as Dance Conduit continues flowing.

-- Harry Weber

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