Placing her honed performing skills and uncompromising view of modern dance on the line, local choreographer Donna Sternberg gave a program of rigorous, purposeful work Friday at the House.
At her brainiest and most self-effacing, she depicted qualities of glass in a realization of Marcel Duchamps' complex process-oriented (and chance-oriented) "The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, Erratum Musicale." At her most intense and weighty, she reached for, and flung herself into space toward some impossible transcendence in "To Ann Ree."
The trio "Cycles" and the duet "In Between" each dealt with a woman's refusal to accept physical/personal contact. The former developed this theme dramatically through a shifting power structure; the latter (featuring what may have been the longest, slowest head-turn in the history of dance), through a process of accommodation.
"Biographical Sketch" found Sternberg growing increasingly forceful in her sharply accented movement tasks as contradictory personal remarks (on tape) formed a chorus of accusation. Clearly, if she felt hemmed in by this kind of talk, she danced her way out Friday and defined herself en route with intelligence, dedication and talent to burn.