December 9th, 2013 | by AARON SPENCER Arts & Books | Posted In: Dance

Just Opened: In Good Company

A review of Northwest Dance Project's annual holiday show.

     
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nwdp_12-5-2013_401ver1filcrpsmlBlaine Truitt Covert
Right from the start, when Elijah Labay walks onto the floor wearing nothing but red velvet dance shorts and socks, you know Northwest Dance Project’s In Good Company isn’t going to be overly serious. The normally stoic Labay, whose portrayals often tend toward pain or distress, now alternates between deadpan stillness and a goofy, Dick Van Dyke smile. In short bursts, he snaps, twists and rolls to Paul Simon’s “Love Me Like A Rock,” drawing nervous laughter from the audience and setting a convivial tone for the dance company's annual holiday show.

The pieces here are choreographed by NWDP’s dancers — the opener is by Patrick Kilbane — and if these works are any indication, they’re a real fun-loving bunch. They had guidelines to use top-40 songs from 40 years ago—though some Bach and Sneaky Sound System are mixed in—so the pieces are generally lively grooves to hits like “Crocodile Rock” and “Love Train.” Franco Nieto creates a stylized, Tarantino-esque piece to Federale and Cher’s “Half Breed.” Andrea Parson choreographs a playful bit of dance-theater featuring a table and a great, acrobatic duet between Labay and Ching Ching Wong.

In all the merrymaking, some of the choreography grows a little too freewheeling, verging on unruly. But a forgiving viewer would chalk that up to the casual nature of the show. Taken for what it is, it satisfies and entertains with a lot of personality.

Northwest Dance Project Studio & Performance Center, 833 N Shaver St., 421-7434. 7:30 pm Wednesday-Saturday, Dec. 11-14 and 4 pm Sunday, Dec. 15. $32-$45. Tickets here.
 
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