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Flash Review, 1-17: Teenagers Dancing in the Bedroom
Social Hour With Oberfelder at New Dixon Digs

By Chris Dohse
Copyright 2000 Chris Dohse

Jody Oberfelder's "Social Dances," a suite set to accordion-heavy tunes by Steve Elson, the Tin Hat Trio, et al delivers a crowd-pleasing divertissement.

Seen Saturday at Dixon Place at Vineyard 26, Oberfelder's young, enthusiastic cast, clad in Katrin Schnabl's hot oranges, pinks, reds and yellows, cavorts through episodes that introduce their characters, then align them in various combinations. These interactions are playful, rambunctious, and exuberant. Sometimes suggesting the prowl of a tango, sometimes the free-for-all of a boot scoot, each interlude builds from an ingenuous whimsy, a lack of self-consciousness, like a teenager dancing alone in the bedroom after school. Occasionally, however, it becomes difficult to see individual dancers; they are kept so busy doing steps or tricks that they aren't allowed to simply be. In material whose essence is the joy felt by the dancers executing it, I wanted to know them better as individuals.

A duet called "Moving Violation" got closest to establishing its dancers (Melanie Fox and Sara Joel) as characters. Joshua Bisset also distinguished himself, with a clarity of line and ports de bras.

Dixon Place's newest incarnation is a bit too confining for the material. The space's intimacy complements the human qualities portrayed and allows scrutiny of the dancers' facial expressions, but the walls loom too close for some of the phrasework's full expansion.

After a pause, Oberfelder's 1988 work "Einszweidrei," set to Strauss waltzes, presents four dancers with a reprise of similarly light-hearted galumphing

The program continues January 21, 22, 28 and 29 at 8 PM, and January 23 & 30 at 3 PM. For tickets, call 212-532-1546.

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