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In Oberfelder's strenuous, witty, and warm-hearted social-dance lexicon, the concept of partnering is relaxed. Deliciously sensual Sara Joel cleaves spoon-fashion to Fox during "Moving Violation," to music by the Tin Hat Trio; she also slinks with Hutchings to a hot Steve Elson tune. In "Pick-up," the whole cast becomes Hutchings's centipede of a partner. Tall, gray-haired Sally Hess, the most elegant dancer in the room, joins Oberfelder and her little daughter Yanna Oberfelder-Riehm in a sweet trio, and what might be seen as incongruity becomes camaraderie.

Not all Oberfelder's dancers are technically expert, but they have endearing verve and daring. They hurl themselves into the steps as if the walls and floor were foam rubber and they couldn't conceive that someone's arms wouldn't always be there to catch them.

** Hetty King is one of those special performers. No matter who the choreographer or how banal the activity, she dances as if every movement were a thought emanating from her and in turn feeding her. She first appears in her Waltz, eyes heavy-lidded, arms folded, torso rising from an iridescent foam of a gown by Naoka Nagata. When she lifts her skirt to examine a leg or licks one hand to a wash of sour-sweet music by Jon Gibson, she embodies her own artistic statement: "The body contains my hunting ground. . . . I excavate memories." Whatever she shows us is interesting: the way she slaps herself or limps across the floor, the way she looks framed against a window of light (design by Jane Cox), the way her long black hair comes down when she spins.


Altogether Different
Joyce Theater
Through January 30

Jody Oberfelder Dance Projects
Jody Oberfelder Dance Projects
Dixon Place at Vineyard 26
Through January 30

Hetty King
Joyce Soho

King makes only a few links between what she describes in the program as "three dreams, three portraits." Amy Baker performs the second section of Waltz on and around Larry Hahn's wooden construction. It's reminiscent in form and function of the structures Isamu Noguchi used to design for Martha Graham, except that real branches emerge from it. Although Baker enters pulling it, and it's both portable and collapsible, it's still more domain than set—a place to roll in, a place for holy experiences and exhibitions. Yet her movements (a few of them echoing King's) seem desultory, as if she weren't sure of her purpose.

David Figueroa's presentation is the most blatant. He's intermittently in our face, welcoming us effusively, checking our responses. But he's also involved in a violent dream of a detective story. He starts when a dog barks, shadows his face with a fedora, tries to climb the wall. We assume a murder. He lies on the floor in a pose earlier taken by Baker and chalks his own outline as sirens howl. Seconds later, King lies down in the shape he's drawn. The second episode still seems unmoored, but the intersections that accumulate toward the end are tantalizing, making me reevaluate what I've seen previously and wish for more links—not to clarify a mystery but to enrich it.

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