DALLAS -- Fort Worth choreographer Bruce Wood has always let emotion lead over intellect in his dance, and two pieces on Friday's program of the Bruce Wood Dance Project's second year in Dallas spoke to this in volumes.
Emotion runs deep in Follow Me, Wood's 2004 work that he developed in Fort Benning, Ga., to honor the military. It's not an old USO-style salute. Follow Me speaks profoundly of young men thrown into combat, where loss and grief become part of everyday life.
The male dancers (Albert Drake, Harry Feril, Joshua Peugh and Lee Scoggins) move slowly in clumps of varying sizes, sometimes dragging off the wounded, other times leaping into one another's arms. Five real military personnel stand, backs to audience, on the sides of the center-lit square where the action happens. It's extremely moving.
The Day of Small Things, which had its premiere Friday night , is similar in tone and speed, with the company, all in excellent form, dancing in five pairs, sometimes breaking out into stunning duets with slow lifts and wide circles. If two dancers enter a group and break up the symmetry, then it's quickly restored. Set to a recording of the Cambridge Singers doing John Rutter's Requiem (Magnificat), it's somber but not overly contemplative. This time we can't take our eyes off the women, especially Nycole Ray and Joy Atkins.
The program began with Piano Concerto No. 3 (2002), which is joyous and bright (especially in the pink and purple costumes), and features many of Wood's trademark moves. This one is for the lovers of light, fast-moving and well-executed contemporary ballet.
On tonight's program are Wood's popular Lovett (2000), the new I'm My Brother's Keeper by Wood and Slump, a new work by associate choreographer Joshua Peugh. Friday's program will repeat Sunday.