The Ohio Ballet, which hasn't appeared locally since 1980, had the look of a plucky, energetic but technically unfinished and uneven company at Citrus College in Glendora on Friday.
Two works by artistic director Heinz Poll, especially, pushed many in the 20-member company to the edge of their competence.
Poll's "Schubert Waltzes," set to the composer's Opus 9 collection (sensitively played by pianist David Fisher), deployed three couples in lyric and playful duets and solos. His "Games" offered a formal music visualization, tempered by athleticism, of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 19 in F.
In both works, the dancers worked hard but looked taxed in maintaining shape and clarity of line, stylistic uniformity or security in the many overhead lifts.
Less demanding, "Solstice," by company member David Shimotakahara, juxtaposed modern-dance elements against cool, elegant songs by Faure, unfolding sequences of shifting, unfulfilled emotional relationships among two couples. It ended poignantly with Pandora Robertson rather resignedly allowing the embraces of Richard Prewitt after she had failed to connect with Debra Force.
The hit of the program, and the work in which the company looked best, was Laura Dean's "Gravity." To a percussive score by Dean, the company ventured repetitions of stabbing pointe work, spinning and various other motivic movements in matrixes of geometrical rigor, from which arose the pleasure of watching order and disorder imperceptively shade into one another.
Prominent were witty sections which displayed a variety of supported turns, and different kinds of off-balance movements, which were essayed individually by every dancer.
All four works were sensitively lit by Thomas R. Skelton.