This show of short pieces, most choreographed by the dancers, alarmingly fell just two weeks after the troupe's spring concert, Exposed. And you could have forgiven the dancers for seeming drained after hustling to get this unique showcase on its feet before their summer break kicked in.
But on the contrary, it was a delightful show, full of energy, and in general a nice contrast to the intensely emotional, often dark Exposed. Alloy on Alloy was tapas dance: an evening of diverse styles, a little something for everyone in the intimate confines of the Alloy's studios, in Friendship.
That spirit was perhaps exemplified by the opening of Adrienne Misko's "String Them Along," whose first performer was a little remote-controlled extended-cab pickup truck. Maribeth Maxa dueted with the vehicle, and then was joined by Christopher Bandy, Stephanie Dumaine and Michael Walsh -- the whole company -- for a series of playful vignettes.
For further variety's sake, there was live music -- by Richard Hutchins and Curtis Boyd, on guitar and vocals -- with "For a Special Someone." This affecting solo, choreographed by Alloy education director Greer Reed Jones, was danced by Stephanie Dumaine, who seldom fails to communicate the essence of a work. Jones herself, meanwhile, danced "Conversation," a very short solo set by Alloy artistic director Beth Corning, and full of Corning's intricate gestures.
The evening's most obvious crowd-pleaser was Michael Walsh's "Soap Box Solo," a sort of illuminated comic monologue in which the Alloy's longest-tenured member spilled the beans on what dancers are really thinking: "You think we do this for you?" The piece was in three parts, scattered throughout. Part one established its intimacy (i.e., brief nudity), while in part two Walsh showed off a little under guise of complaining about choreographers who just can't be satisfied. ("Yeah -- I can do that twice as fast. [Oh, fuck!].") "Solo" was catnip for anyone who's been inside dance -- or thought he or she might like to be (pretty much the whole audience, I'm guessing).
Walsh's stand-up-and-spin-around comedy notwithstanding, the dancer who seemed to have the most to say was Bandy. The Alloy's newest member (he came straight from the Pittsburgh Ballet just last fall) set two pieces. One, the charming "Without You," danced by Dumaine, Maxa and Misko, featured comedic audience interaction and commentary on romantic stereotyping. Bandy's second contribution, "Fall," was an intense and intensely physical duet between Bandy and guest artist Brienne Wiltsie. Danced to a deeply moving choral Stravinsky piece, it showcased Bandy's leaping ability (also put to good use in Exposed) as well as his choreographic chops, and it just might have been the evening's high point.