Back in the day, the Henry Street Settlement’s pristine oval theater hosted Alwin Nikolais, whose unique dance theater, then cutting-edge, reappears next week at the Joyce. The Lower East Side neighborhood and the times have changed. Now Daniel Catanach, Urban Ballet Theater’s director and former School of American Ballet student, directs the dance program at Henry Street’s Abrons Arts Center; his major accomplishments include training terrific male dancers and attracting guests like Carla Korbes and Amar Ramasar of NYCB.
The dances were long and diverse, ranging from the wonderful Mambo, which incorporated students, to the opaque and rambling Trouble, set in an urban grotto and featuring drifty women, a man in a skeleton suit wearing a studded collar, and those marvelous guys. The well-trained dancers will always find work; their chops will serve them well at auditions. But Catanach could use an editor to give his imaginative choreography a clearer structure.