Sitting on stage with their torsos barley visible above large white hoops skirts, two dancers fidget onstage with stiff ballerina smiles. Perched on hidden skateboards, the two women are rolled across the stage by a pair men, who look like half-dressed characters from Hansel and Gretel. The women emerge from their swanlike poses only to swirl and collide across the stage with their male counterparts, never relaxing their pseudo-ballet formality. The women lift the men, the men lift each other, the large hoop skirts take on a thousand forms. The combination of ugly movements, cliché costumes, serious expressions, and talented dancers makes for a droll and stunning performance.

That's the first dance in BodyVox-2's 12-piece show that opened Thursday night.  It's parent company, BodyVox, calls itself a "freewheeling, multi-media, boundary-bending movement troupe," and has been leaping and stumbling about Portland for the last 13 years. This week it showcases the work of its annex company, BodyVox-2, comprised of emerging dancers who train alongside the main company. They divide their time between performing at school assemblies across the state and staging new dances as well as selections from the BodyVox canon.

The five BodyVox-2 dancers tirelessly performed new and old pieces, some as funny as the first, others serious, and a few that seemed like excerpts from a Rogers and Hammerstein musical. Though not every dance maintained a high level of creativity and wit, the show was danced with impressive professionalism and a heavy dose of humor--a novelty in the world of modern dance. This emerging crop of BodyVox company members shows great promise and is definitely worth seeing.

GO: BodyVox-2 performs at BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Ave., 229-0627. 7:30 pm Friday-Saturday, Jan. 28-29. $15.