FORT WORTH If youre of the mindset that the vocabularies of many contemporary and modern dance choreographers are too similar, rest assured there is more diversity in the works in the opening event of Contemporary Dance/Fort Worths 10th Annual Modern Dance Festival at the Modern than there has been in previous years.
The eight works in CD/FW Dance Exchange: A Choreographers Showcase, which opened Friday and continues on Saturday in the Grand Lobby at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, are of refreshingly different choreographic points of view.
Each of the two solos performed by guest artist Deborah Birrane of Seattle, By the River, Under the Moon (2012, choreographed by Debra Knapp) and Samskara (2012, by Joanna Cashman) have influences in international dance West African for the former; European folk for the latter fluidly blended into American modern, and flawlessly danced.
Dallas Beckles Dance Company repeats Loris Beckes lovely A Meditation (2012), with four dancers in a work that uses classical movements, but resembles group social dancing in its formations.
CD/FWs three premieres included the cute trifle Color Schemes using an adult dancer and a little girl (Jacqueline Todd and Catherine DePetris) and some sheets of construction paper.
More successful is Claudia Pacheco Orcasitas Ahani (fabric or textile) with dancer James Cognito looking as a watchman to some Andean poetry, and three women moving in slow, methodical lines.
The best of CD/FWs work is the premiere of Tina Mullones Interior, with dancers Julia Nova Cognito and Orcasitas effectively partnering in give/take and asymmetrical patterns.
Frequent Modern Dance Festival guest artist Lonny Gordon returns for the premiere of Radiant, which combines performance art and Japanese butoh, with props (a tray, an apple) and set pieces (pillows, rugs) to tell a slow, exceptionally controlled story inspired by shamanistic perseverance.
For the people who left early, they missed the work that everyone will be talking about. Christine S. Bergerons Pinwheels and Roses, seen earlier this year at the Barefoot Brigade Dance Festival, closes on a stunning image of dancer Kathleen Byrne dancing a soft, graceful work as rose petals swirl in the air around her, propelled by strategically placed fans on the floor. With the backdrop of the Moderns glass walls and the reflecting pond, even at nighttime, its even more magical.
The Modern Dance Festival will continue over the next two weekends with the installation project 9 Beet Stretch/Music of the Spheres (using a slowed down version of Beethovens 9th Symphony stretched to 24 hours with no pitch distortion); and on July 27, theres the annual showcase of dance short films.