Bodytraffic opened Wednesday night at the Prince Theater with an evening of works that celebrate and explore its very medium - dance.
This second program in Dance Affiliates' new NextMove series opened with The New 45, Richard Siegal's work for company co-artistic director Tina Finkelman Berkett and dancer Guzman Rosado. It had the duo dancing - perhaps in a living room - to a series of jazz tunes. The movement in turns, defined by the music, had an improved feel. The choreographed combinations of pirouettes and jumps, or simple play, had many touches of humor.
The piece was fun but seemed quiet, and a glance in the program explained why: It was supposed to be a trio, but dancer Andrew Wojtal was injured and was not replaced. The New 45 worked as a duet, but it did not fill out the stage as it presumably would with the full cast.
Most intriguing was Once again, before you go, choreographed by Victor Quijada, who specializes in mixing genres and has brought his company, RUBBERBANDance, to Philadelphia several times. In this piece, set to an original score by Jasper Gahunia, Quijada presented hip-hop dance slow and smooth in solos and group sections for four dancers, and then mixed it with contemporary dance and ballet for a sleek look far from its origins in street dancing.
An excerpt of Stijn Celis' Fragile Dwellings was set to music by Arvo Part and others - and sometimes just to silence. Dedicated to the homeless in Los Angeles, where Bodytraffic is based, it is a strong piece of contemporary and martial-arts-type movements, cutting through the emptiness.
The evening ends with A Trick of the Light, a charming suite of mini dances in a ballroom setting by Joshua Peugh, who this year was named one of Dance Magazine's 25 to Watch. There are tulle dresses, Christmas music, and it snows on stage (in a very low-tech manner).
It's nothing like Nutcracker, but this is still a small, whimsical entry into the holiday season.
8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Prince Theater.
Information: 215-422-4580 or princetheater.org.