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Variety spices up dancers' 'Red' line

There's an air of the vaudevillian to a shared choreographers' concert, no matter how polished the contents. Friday night's "Red Cross Line" was no exception. The show -- a compendium of nine dances by 11 choreographers (complemented by a performance installation in a closet off the lobby) -- comprised styles ranging from the dramatically modern to the verbally comedic to the ethnically informed. To say that the seismic shifts kept the audience jumping is to put it mildly.

The most affecting of the works were the most straightforward. Kieran Jordan and Moriah Kelly's "An Hour Before Dark" is a quintet set to music by Hanneke Cassel. It's a lark of a piece that springs direct from the cracked-apart rhythms and syncopated partnerings of Irish step-dancing.

Barbara Freedman's solo "Focus Interruptus," which is set to Elastica's "2:1," marries sharp, flicking fingers to unexpected head jolts and fluid leg swings to show you a mind divided.

And Sara Pullen and Rick Vigo's "Don't Run Away," a duet set to music by Philip Glass, uses simple devices -- alternating arabesques here, back-to-front stances there -- as well as repeating motifs, such as a lunge that dissolves into prayer, to communicate the pushes and pulls that define intimate relationships.

Yet it was the more complex, and often not quite successful, dances that lingered in the mind the longest. Alissa Cardone, in her solo "President of the US," has the fight-or-flight physicality of a jungle creature. Set to John Williams's "Imperial March," the dance moves from angularity to slips and slams and back again as it explores the grotesqueries of power.

Dawn Davis Loring's "Breast Wishes" commingles movement, music, and words in a witty tirade about the tyrannies wrought by having breasts. Sporting a brassiere of Russ Meyer proportions, Loring encircles a chorus of four high-kicking women who deadpan their way through the mire of being female.

Liz Lapuh's "Abstraction Self Destruction" is a dark drama of a dance for three women and one man. Set to music by the Kronos Quartet, it's a shock of runs and slides, and hinges that plunge into crashes. The emotion is a bit over the top -- a trait that will no doubt soften as the choreographer becomes more experienced. Still, the dance is a moving depiction of desperation.

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