"SHUT UP AND DANCE," Odyssey Dance Theatre, Kingsbury Hall, Thursday, additional performances through March 29 (581-7100)

What happens when a control-monger loses control of his thoughts? And what happens when those thoughts start controlling him?

That's one of the issues examined in Odyssey Dance Theatre's world premiere of Dee Caspary's "Monsieur Loyal," which was part of the Thursday night run of "Shut Up and Dance."

Sure "Monsieur Loyal" is another way to say ringmaster. But the circus that was led by ODT's Eldon Johnson was more of a surreal, fever-dream cirque.

And the symbolism didn't stop there. While Johnson danced with his thoughts — brought to life by the other ODT dancers — the piece could have been addressing political offices, corporate bosses and even overbearing parents.

Regardless, the work can be interpreted on many levels. But the running threads include passion, anger, despair, confidence and resolution.

Caspary, who usually choreographs shorter dance-competition works, stepped out of his comfort zone with "Monsieur Loyal," which clocks in at nearly 22 minutes. And the risk, thanks to the dancers' performance, paid off with rousing applause.

Also part of the program was Roni Koresh's opening powerwork "Ancient Future." The petroglyph-like stances, highlighted by smooth transitions and a smattering of pas de deux, captured the audience's attention and set the expectation bar on a high notch.

Derryl Yeager's "Motif" featured Christian Denice and Lisa Benson in a abstractly balletic and gymnastic pas de deux. The grace and elegance was finely executed by Denice's strength and Benson's limberness.

Also on tap was a performance of young competition dancers — Amber Williams, Taylor Lowe and Chase Wise and Infinity Dance.

Their angsty and explosive display was offset by the dark "Monsieur Loyal."

The second act was the polar opposite of the moody first half as the dancers and Brigham Young University's big-band jazz band Synthesis took the stage in "Club Calloway."

Taking a cue from the ritzy Harlem Cotton Club, the band and dancers converted the stage into a swinging night club.

Zoot suit flashes and swing-dancing couples gave way to a sassy set by the ODT women and a strutting, all-guy segment. There were even bits of slapstick and pratfalls added for good measure.

The band, led by BYU professor C. Raymond Smith, blew out the jams as the dancers did their thing.

As with all of ODT's "Shut Up and Dance" runs, each night features different dances. So make sure you choose the one you want when you call the number above. Still, no matter which night you choose, you will be hard-pressed to be disappointed.


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