Seattle's dance offerings this week are as diverse in artistic style and aesthetics as they are in social or cultural messages.
Dance inspired by the lush nudes of Michelangelo and Caravaggio and the dreamy maidens of Maxfield Parrish enlivens the Washington Hall Performance Gallery, today through Saturday, as Pat Graney Dance Company reprises its nationally acclaimed "Faith."
And dances drawn from Serbo-Croatian folk traditions and Appalachia occupy Broadway Performance Hall, today through Sunday as Radost Folk Ensemble has its annual outing.
"We'll continue performing `Faith' through 1994," said Graney of her most successful modern dance work to date. The full-length piece, which her company has toured with since its premiere here two years ago, is attracting bookings still - for Philadelphia, Atlanta, Tampa, Boston.
The performances last night through Saturday, featuring three new dancers and cut by 6 minutes "to just tighten it up," are benefits for the company in its coming season.
"The length is a delicate thing," Graney noted, "because the piece is without intermission." It runs about 70 minutes.
She said there's never been a problem with the occasional nudity in the work, which is seen in a radiant, quasi-religious tableau at the end.
"But I do get a lot of mail about the work itself," she said, "what it means to people. I've never gotten mail like this in my life. From families, women who feel really supported by it and how it shows how women have been perceived and then presented, throughout history. It's amazing!
"You do something really personal, you don't know it's going to come across. But this seems to relate to all people.
"It was hard to do because with the comedy pieces I've done, and such, these are things I know how to do. No risk. But showing something I think is beautiful - I wonder, `But will the emotional quality I want, come across?' "
Deep personal feelings also color Radost Folk Ensemble's shows this weekend at Broadway Performance Hall, said company founder-director Glenn Nielsen. Begun in the late 1970s, and enriched with tours throughout the Balkan region as well as the U.S., Radost has maintained a soulful yet joyful spirit through good times and recent horrors.
"I call to mind the people there that I knew or know," Nielsen said. "What they were like when I stayed with them and partied with them." The focus of these concerts is "to celebrate the previous peaceful coexistence of the peoples of former Yugoslavia . . . to wish for peace in the future," he said. "Folklore goes far beyond political situations."
The concerts feature ancient Bosnian ritual dances preserved by defiant peasants during the Ottoman Empire, as well as works honoring the diversity of the former Yugoslavia. Also on the program are Hungarian and Russian folk dances.
Nielsen expects audiences will look for more illumination and knowledge about the Balkan region, which folk art provides.
"By showing Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian people's traditions together, we can show they are more similar than is generally thought."
Pat Graney Dance Company, Washington Hall Performance Gallery, 153 14th Ave., 8 p.m. today and tomorrow, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday.
Radost Folk Ensemble, Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway, 8 p.m. today through Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday.