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In the latest work by the XF Company of Dance, dancers face the back of the stage, and soft modern jazz choreography is accompanied by a hard-rock tune. These disconnected moments are the point of XF's December show at the Firehouse Theatre. "The Disconnect" is XF's second public performance and the follow-up to its sell-out debut in June.

"Each piece has something that disconnects about it," says Christina Fitch, one of the company's founders. "Either the movement does not work with the music or the costumes do not match the mood of the piece."

To add to the disorientation, there's no predictable progression in the program, creating a further disconnect between each section: A modern piece may be followed by a hip-hop dance followed by jazz or a comedic piece. "The true connection of each piece is my 'voice' as a choreographer," Fitch says. "Taking a concept and twisting it can evoke different emotions and changes the entire mood of the piece."

XF is building a reputation as a dance company for everyone — both those onstage and in the audience. The company has grown since the summer from nine members to 21, many of whom are new to professional dance and hold down other jobs far from a stage — as bartenders, hairdressers or waitresses.

"Fifty percent of the dancers who are new to the company have never performed like this before," Fitch says. But she likes the challenge of working with nontraditional dancers, choosing to focus on their unique energy. "I have had a lot of fun letting them be themselves within the choreography," she says. "Perfection is boring to me. I'd much rather see 15 people being themselves rather than doing the same thing. I like to see 15 people's different energy on stage."

It is Fitch's philosophy — "Dance is fun" — that sold out XF's first show and is sure to do it again. "The show is phenomenal," she says. "I'm really happy about it." If her enthusiasm demonstrates one-tenth the strength of this show, audiences are guaranteed to be happy about it too. S



XF Company of Dance performs "The Disconnect" at the Firehouse Theatre Project Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 7-8 at 7 and 9:30 p.m. 1609 W. Broad St. Tickets are $15. Call 355-2001 or visit www.firehousetheatre.org.

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