In Search of a Goddess The Duke on 42nd Street
229 West 42nd Street
Through June 19
Dalia Carella, choreographer and shockingly engaging performer of In Search of a Goddess, ably conjures the spirit of the great Miss Ruth (18791968). Subtitled "Inspirations of the Divine Enchantress Ruth St. Denis," and written by Fran Kirmser and Andrew Frank, this self-proclaimed "play with dance" takes a 70-minute exotic trip (at times the Eastern-themed scenes seem rather hallucinogenic) through the life of Ruth St. Denis, often credited as one of the founders of modern dance. Spanning a century and acted by Catherine Zambri and Fiona Jones, the limited prose was articulate and appropriately timed throughout, but "dance with play" would describe Carella's sumptuous and at times sinful undulations more accurately. Attaching your pupils to Carella as she writhes her way through her interpretation of St. Denis's Kuan Yin and Salome will provide you with enough sensual stimulation to survive the trite group numbers. Perhaps the garbled African movement and cartwheels included in the climactic Egypta sequences are slightly inauthentic, but hey, Ruthie Dennis was born in Newark, not Egypt.