There’s something gentle about even the most knowing, layered work Jan Bartoszek does. However witty and twisted her use of 3/4 time in Waltz #3 (a reworking of an earlier dance), however distant she may make this 19th-century form appear, at the heart of the piece is the sinuous, careful way one waltzer partners another. In this sextet women may take on “men’s roles” and vice versa, but never mind. The look and the attitude are what count. Even Bartoszek’s experiments with sound and text, made in collaboration with performance artist Lynn Book, are benign: the dancers hum the “Blue Danube,” rattle teacups in their saucers, engage in murmurous conversation. They demonstrate the ballroom language of scarves while Book interprets. Meanwhile the five-piece Ensemble of Non-Thought plays skewed waltz music (composed by David Pavkovic) and occasionally parades about the stage: the bass fiddle player briefly reclines with his instrument. Other works in “Dances of Innocence and Desire,” Bartoszek’s first concert in a year and a half, are Heartthrob and Sweet Baby, Baby Suite, a piece that uses four principal dancers, a chorus of six, and some 30 or 40 dolls of various shapes and sizes to explore motherhood, including its humorous side. Thursday through next Saturday, June 3-5, at 8 at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 4730 N. Sheridan; $12-$14 ($35 on Saturday night, a benefit that includes a reception after the concert). Call 271-7928 or 907-2192 for info and tickets.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Tony Cifani.