It was possible to forget the woes of war Thursday night when Yorke Dance Project, under the artistic direction of Yolande Yorke-Edgell, brought beauty, grace and real emotion to a sparse but appreciative audience at Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica. Nowhere was this truer than in Yorke-Edgell's powerful duet "Time and Again," which deals with father-daughter bonds. Guest artist Sean Greene and Yorke-Edgell soared to the music of Bach, performed live with much soul by cellist Cecilia Tsan. Supple, lyrical and moving with long, assured strides, Greene repeatedly lifted Yorke-Edgell before encircling her body with his arms. A sadness prevailed: Greene cradled Yorke-Edgell's head; she knelt in meditative prayer; he responded with outstretched arms. Music poured through Yorke-Edgell, her body a conduit for exultation and longing, whether in the arch of her back or the flexing of a foot.
Greene's satisfying premiere, "With Long Spinner's Legs," set to John Adams' music, explored female interactions. Inspired by Shakespearean characters, seven dancers offered exaggerated walks and a foot-shaking motif, with Samantha Robinson and Jennifer Flanagan deft in their faux sparring.
Diana MacNeil's new solo, "Just Go Away With My Hat," had Jeff Rona's compelling original taped score but appeared choreographically light, with Yvette Wulff perpetually moving around a deck of cards.
MacNeil's revival "Once Each Time" (2002) saw eight jubilant dancers, including guest artist Roger Gonzalez Hibner, leaping to Samuel Barber songs, performed live by Kevin Hafenstein with pianist Catherine Miller Popovic. Yorke-Edgell's jaunty "Ready Set Gone" completed the noteworthy program.
Yorke Dance Project
Where: Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica
When: Today, 2 and 8 p.m.
Contact: (323) 653-2907