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BALLET TO BOOM BOXES, N.C. DANCE THEATER HAS IT ALL
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BALLET TO BOOM BOXES, N.C. DANCE THEATER HAS IT ALL

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Traci Owens and Mel Tomlinson typify the versatility of the North Carolina Dance Theater.

As principal dancers, they lead the company through this season's current, eclectic program, ably supported by an outstanding company.Each of the four works on this program is fine. ``The Moor's Pavane,' Jose Limon's great dance, is beautifully presented. Tomlinson brings the role of Othello to life with magnificent dignity, his solemn control leading inexorably to the tragedy when that control is lost.

As Othello's wife, Helen Rosenthal is a fragile beauty, her delicacy of movement and softness a wonderful contrast with his dark strength.

As the duplicitous friends, Alain Charron and Katherine Thompson hold their own on stage. Charron's easy grace is especially pleasing and Thompson is vividly lovely. The choreography is stately and fluid, danced with great sensitivity by these four. Pauline Lawrence's costumes add immensely to this work's visual excitement.

Susan McKee-McCullough's ``Renderings' opens this dance concert very nicely with the watercolor ballet that is so enjoyable to see and to think about dancing.

The entire company joins the swirling, lyrical patterns of this dance, a neat contrast with the evening's last work, which features the same cast in a very different mood.

Company ballet master Dennis Marshall partners Traci Owens in the beloved pas de deux from ``Swan Lake.' This grandly traditional piece has not dimmed in romance or charm, though the choreography is dated.

Demanding much from the ballerina, this pas de deux' difficulties seem nothing to Owens. In the magnificent lifts she seems about to fly out of her partner's arms, and the tiny flutterings of feet and hands evoke the swan within the princess.

High romance and star-crossed love never go truly out of date.

In the program's final work, Sal Aiello's ``The Construction Company,' the dancers who have brought grace and beauty to the stage return bringing hard hats, boom boxes, rock and roll and enormous fun.

Before the dance begins, they invade the audience with ladders and Diet Pepsis, stealing seats and shouting to each other. Then it's time for ``Punchin' the Clock,' and they gather onstage under the stern direction of foreman Tomlison and bricklayer Owens.

Tomlinson's Othello and Owens' swan disappear as these two go toe-to-toe over who's in charge. A rollicking lunch break features dances to the boom box, a road is laid across the stage, a cityscape goes up and up, and then it's ``Payday!'

What do you get when you cross Pee Wee Herman with Jerry Lewis? Mel Tomlinson as the foreman on his night out. You have to see it to believe it. And Owens, former swan, former bricklayer, becomes the queen of the dance club scene. To see it for yourself, you can go to the Stevens Center at 2 and 8 p.m.

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