It was always a surprise to see Jackie Gleason dance, with his unlikely body, so light on his feet. With apologies to the fine Mercer Dance Ensemble women, with their years of training, Maleek Colvin was the one to watch on June 4. He’s not a dancer yet, but his movement added ballast to six of the 10 dances on the Kelsey Theater program that continues Sunday, June 5, at 2 p.m.
In choreography by MDE director Janell Byrne, he found his way through the lyrical rise and fall of a Humphrey-Weidman based “Not So Baroque,” and an upbeat “Shenandoah” with its accented gestures. He came into his own in “With a Blue Note” with its combo of relaxed but not limp swings and weight. How to explain weightedness? In ballet and some styles of modern, dancers try to keep their energy moving upward. In Graham, the dancer sends energy into the earth and draws energy from the earth. This piece is halfway up, halfway down, and a turn has some heft to it. Colvin’s got heft.
Jennifer Gladney choreographed a memorable “The Road Narrows” for four trained dancers (Ian Conley, Han Koon Ooi, and Kaitlyn Seitz, and Brianne Scott). I like how she starts with a three-against-one pattern, and moves back between different configurations.
Ooi was successful with “Seven Drums” to a Thai vocal narrative-like score. Alicia Ackerman, Rebecca Brodowski, Conley Colvin, Gladney, Maria Laurenti, Stephanie Maher, and Scott – they created a cohesive community. Tifani Maldonado,
Also on the program were a confection for five women dancers by Emily Byrne, a solo by Seitz, and Byrne’s “Jig and Reel Stew,” (for Gladney, Leondi, Scott, Seitz, and Trisha Wolf), Brigadoon gone quirky.