At one time, this weekend's Lo-Tec concert at Three's Company's Hillcrest studio had the lowest potential for excellence of any on the summer series. The featured performers--and most of the choreographers as well--were Three's Company interns, not seasoned professionals.
But injury and a surprise addition to the performing roster altered the equation considerably. Former Jose Limon dancer Bill Cratty, long-time artistic director of the New York-based troupe that bore his name, will dance two unscheduled solos from his well-known dance drama. Titled "The Kitchen Table," this bittersweet tale of domestic life was designed for the Limon Dance Company in 1980.
Cratty was slated to contribute to Saturday and Sunday's concert from the start, but only as a choreographer. He was working on a new dance for the interns. But, as the dance maker explained in a recent break from rehearsals, "After three of the interns dropped out with injuries, we had to can the idea."
Instead, Cratty will perform with six members of Three's Company. He calls the bits and pieces (four duets) "excerpts from my repertory."
Cratty's weight-shifting choreography, which harks back to the exciting Humphrey-Weidman school of modern dance, is highly acclaimed. Ditto for his performing brio. In fact, Cratty's appearance alone should be worth the price of admission.
Dance magazine's Walter Terry extolled Cratty's "ideal American male dancer-athlete's body," and lauded his "rhythmic force and dramatic presence" in 1982. Although Cratty is pushing 40, he remains a strong "antidote for elitist post-modern postures" (as Terry described him), and "a very pure and concentrated dancer" (as Anna Kisselgoff observed in the New York Times three years ago).
Although his current commitment as chairman of the dance department at Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts keeps Cratty out of the limelight much of the time, the ex-New Yorker is still a busy choreographer--and he still performs as often as possible. Cratty made San Diego his home last year and hopes to become a familiar face on the local dance scene soon.
His plans already include a residency with the San Diego Institute for Arts Education and a special project with the San Diego Foundation for the Performing Arts next year (details of which are still on the drawing boards).
"I see San Diego dance growing," he noted. "More and more dancers are leaving New York and, hopefully, we can keep offering dance to (build) audiences here."
Also on this weekend's roster, is Erin O'Connor's "Went out Last Night," a somnambulist dance based on the choreographer's own experiences as a sleep walker. O'Connor is also credited as composer in this ambitious effort.
Melissa Cottle, a recent winner of UC San Diego's Stuart Award for choreography, will dance the surrealistic "Liminal," and Alison Cutri (an ex-apprentice of Merce Cunningham) will dance four solos.