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Dancers offer moving retrospective

BodyVox shows offits best moves froma five-year career

BodyVox is making it easy for dance enthusiasts with spotty attendance records to make up for lost time.

The troupe is bringing together its greatest hits from its five-year history in a concert called 'Echoes.' The performance includes choreographic work from full-length dance works such as 'Reverie,' 'First Impressions' and 'The Big Room.'

The program's high point arrives at the top of the second act when the company restages 'Carmina Burana.' Commissioned in 1997 by the Portland Opera with stage direction by Christopher Mattagliano, the lush 'Carmina' was danced to a live opera performance. A short film by filmmaker and regular BodyVox collaborator Mitchell Rose sets the scene for the 'Carmina' reprisal.

'We've never attempted to marry this formidable opera with this edgy, humorous SWAT team we have over here,' the troupe's Jamey Hampton says of the compilation approach to the 'Echoes' concert.

Hampton and Ashley Roland, BodyVox's artistic directors, are a marital-slash-creative duo who view modern dance through a prism of humor. Laughter becomes a kind of welcome mat for the BodyVox audience.

'Humor is often kind of taboo in modern dance,' Hampton says, 'but we look at it as an area that has been underutilized. It just works for us. Let's laugh, then we'll do something sad, tragic or melancholic.'

'Tangled,' choreographed by Roland, is a piece in which one woman and three men dance a spidery tango. Roland's opulent, spine-tingling 'Reverie,' a dance rhapsody in green, is here, too.

The program also includes 'Psycho Killer,' 'Twins,' 'Moto Perpetuo' and the trapeze dance 'X-Axis,' among others.

BodyVox succeeds in communicating a tremendous amount of feeling and theatricality in its performances.

'We are a company that is fundamentally about connecting and sharing. We are not a company that's didactic,' Hampton says.

Most of the BodyVox dancers come from a ballet background, which creates a core company with a nuanced, colorful dance vocabulary. The sense of theater and the resonance of what the dancers bring to the work continue to grow.

'We've been together five years now. Everything is richer and deeper,' Hampton says.

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