I did an interview with the very talented, very articulate, and very opinionated choreographer Jessica Lang a few months ago--and made the (ultimately fortunate) mistake of asking her how she felt about the trend of all-female choreographer evenings. She groaned. "I hate that artistic directors have started using it as a ploy to bring in audiences: 'Hey, we'll do an all-girl evening!'" she said. "I'm sure their intentions are good, but it makes me feel woefully insecure sometimes. I know there aren't many women choreographers out there, but that doesn't mean we need to be championed. I don't want to get opportunities just because I'm a woman; I strongly believe in the value of what I create. If you want Christopher Wheeldon, hire him. Don't give it to me because I'm a girl!"

I've thought of that rant often the past couple of nights, which I've spent at the Joyce Theater, soaking up wonderful dances by four very talented choreographers: Andrea Miller, Camille A. Brown, Kate Weare, and Monica Bill Barnes. They all happen to be women--but, refreshingly, that wasn't the point. These ladies weren't chosen to share two programs at the prestigious Joyce because they're girls; they were chosen because they're GOOD.

Really, really good! Miller explored the dangerous, twisted consequences of herd mentality in her self-consciously theatrical, pitch-perfect Wonderland (inspired by this art installation). In five short, vividly personable works, Brown proved that she's both a sophisticated stylist and a crowd-pleaser. Weare's Bright Land--accompanied by a fantastic "old-time" band--was a touching, intimate, oh-so-human dance poem. And Barnes' Another Parade, which juxtaposed Bach with James Brown and ballet with silly showgirl moves, was good, earnest fun--a "not a girl, not yet a woman" romp complete with confetti and a disco ball. (A special shoutout to Dance Magazine editor Kina, who made a guest appearance in Barnes' piece!)

Yay for women choreographing--and yay for venues presenting their choreography because it DESERVES to be presented.