ODYSSEY DANCE COMPANY and Various Artists; "Derryl Yeager's Joy to the World: A Christmas Celebration," at the Capitol Theatre, Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m. Additional performance Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m. Tickets available through ArtTix at (801) 355-ARTS.

The Odyssey Dance Theatre has found its niche. "Derryl Yeager's Joy to the World" was a perfect blend of music and dance performances.

The concert came off more as a variety show that mixed a well-balanced blend of contemporary dance, tap dance, ballroom dance, loungey jazz, soul, folk and gospel music. There was also some unique choral arrangements, holiday sentiment and humor.

This 1 1/2-hour work is done without an intermission. But there isn't time to worry about that. Once the performance begins — a la a "Sister Act II"-styled arrangement of "Joy to the World" performed by Jennifer Jordan Frogley — it's full speed ahead.

Utah-based musicians such as pianist Brett Raymond, singer Kelly Shepardson, Steve & Lisa James and Peter Breinholt supplied the music between the set changes and sometimes during the dances. And the dancers sometimes became background dancers and sometimes became the full focus of the many works presented.

Regardless, the spirit of the holidays was alive and well at the Capitol Theatre. The humorous "Nuttin' for Christmas," choreographed by Michelle Butterfield, was done on tap and the Latin-jazz ballroom romp of "Sleigh Ride," choreographed by Rick Robinson, was another production highlight. Then there was the hip-hopping Santas in "Breaktime at Macy's," which had the smooth funky moves choreographed by Amanda Yeager to the tunes of the Commodores, Wild Cherry and the Hues Corporation.

A Bob Fosse-esque "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer," by artistic director Derryl Yeager and another Robinson work, "I'm Gonna E-Mail Santa" were some more exciting romps on the stage.

"Derryl Yeager's Joy to the World" is a must for this holiday season. And here's some advice for the Odyssey Dance Theatre (take it or leave it). Let Robinson choreograph more!


E-mal: scott@desnews.com