It takes a certain courage to show the work of another choreographer on a program otherwise made up almost entirely of your own premieres. But Rose Polsky took the risk Saturday at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex, and the results were not exactly to her advantage.
Polsky made a strong and compelling dancer in Meredith Monk's conflicted "Madwoman's Vision" (to Monk's taped accompaniment), but the dramatic density and complex, rapid shifts in movement vocabulary in this solo only pointed up the essentially facile craft of her four new works.
In these, she generally created airy, pressureless music visualizations that reflected but didn't tell us anything new about their source (Handel and folk songs of several cultures) or about the dancers.
The unrelieved and not very deeply connective cheer wore out its welcome and, worse, began to look interchangeable from piece to piece. Even intended weightier moments didn't seem persuasive.
This isn't to say that it was easy to dance or that the company--besides Polsky, it included Gilma Bustillo, Cristy Candler and Carolyn Hall--looked weak. In fact, everyone made the long-held balances, quick turns, mirrored movements and shifts between balletic and modern dance vocabulary appear largely effortless.
So did the notable and strong guest artists for whom Polsky created difficult solos--Janet Eilber ("Two Places, Three Songs"), Loretta Livingston ("Love Song"), Diana McNeil (three sections of "Sing") and Yaelisa (one of the "Catalan Folk Songs").
In addition to Monk, the recorded singers included Marilyn Horne (two Handel arias) and Cathy Berberian (four folk songs arranged by Berio). Live singers included Stacey Tappan (Scottish songs, arranged discreetly by David Karagianis), Virenia Lind (Caccini's "Amarilli," with pianist Victoria Kirsch), and Janis Brenner (five other Monk songs).