The University Dance Company debuted Karole Armitage's "Power Surge" Thursday night at the Lied Center and did justice to the Lawrence-grown choreographer's inventiveness.
Deanna Doyle and Beau Hancock were stunning in Armitage's romantic duet, which blended ballet, modern and pop dance and laid it against the repetitive, ebbing melody of Philip Glass' "Mishima String Quartet." Armitage, who choreographs for some of the world's top dance companies, created the work earlier this fall during a residency at KU.
Doyle was especially impressive. Confident and controlled on-stage, her dancing downplays its athleticism and opts for graceful strength, unfaltering balance and fully extended lines.
Another highlight of the 90-minute concert was Patrick Suzeau's "Opus 2001," an intriguing work for 17 dancers that evokes images of combat and prisoner-of-war camps. Martial arts, modern dance and movements that seem unnatural to humans mix and build into a swarming mass that falls apart with the snap of a finger. Suzeau once again dips into his bottomless well of imagination to create a work that's both innovative and dynamic.
The rest of the concert included Jerel Hilding's classical ballet, "Allegro con Brio," a piece for 13 dancers with lovely solos, duets and ensemble sections, splendid leaps and a sense of elegance, and Willie Lenoir's "Oxford Suite, Part I," a dramatic work with challenging choreography that is mastered by its dancers.
University Dance Company will repeat the concert at 7:30 p.m. today.