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Printz Dance Project

Self-presented in association with Joyce SoHo at Joyce SoHo, 155 Mercer St., NYC, Aug. 1-3.

Stacey Printz gets an "A+" in choreography. Her pieces are extremely well composed, beginning with striking opening images, progressing organically through athletic explorations of all the spatial and temporal elements of dance, and ending with a clear, conceptual statement. But despite the excellent crafting, the evening of Printz's choreographies, performed by Printz Dance Project at Joyce SoHo, had the air of "student work." About halfway through every piece, we grew weary of the dutiful adherence to rules of composition and the careful, naïve explorations of familiar ideas. Printz has not yet found a bold, new approach to expression, a unique choreographic voice, or an original point of view that might turn her commendable work into captivating art.

Printz's movement aesthetic is so heavily derived from the stylings of today's MTV-driven pop culture that the expressive potential of her choreographic vocabulary is limited. In virtually all of her works, the dancers move like tough street punks, executing harsh actions with explosive energy and defensive attitudes. Perhaps that's why the lilting, Hawaiian-flavored quartet "From These Mountains" emerged as the evening's most appealing work. A happy quality pervaded its fresh choreographic blend of contemporary concert dance and sensual, squiggly world-dance moves.

The one premiere on the program, the quartet "Shift," made mildly interesting use of two short balance beams resting on the floor. Though initially there was a catchy, "cool" sensibility to the choreography that felt stylishly hip, eventually the performers' sassy swaggering and rough behavior proved off-putting. Similarly, in both "0-10 In 17" and "L7," a kind of "gang warfare" ambience dominated the proceedings and curtailed the choreography's ability to say much, other than "Pow! Pow! Pow!" There is a tremendous amount of activity in Printz's dances—constant, full-bodied, fast and furious movement—but, considering the amount of energy expended, the payoff in meaning is small.

Completing Printz's program was an unmemorable solo titled "Inside Out," the lovely, yet unremarkable quintet "Swimming," and "Lifeline," a lengthy ensemble piece involving the manipulation of long elastic bands that felt like an extended comp-class prop study.

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