Considered baffling by some audiences and hilarious by others, NYC choreographer Doug Elkins defies easy labeling because he wears every label. His choreography reflects his experience as a kid who discovered dance in one of the most diverse cities on earth. George Balanchine, John Travolta, Martha Graham, Michael Jackson–Elkins steals from them all. The Patrooka Variations, an examination of the rituals of romance, also throws in Bizet’s Carmen, some flamenco, and a little James Brown. The combination is electric–his tremendously agile troupe flows through a series of complex duets ranging from silly to sublime, never once missing a beat. When Elkins borrows from others, he tends to make puns of their movements, juxtaposing them with another style to somehow bring out the best in both. “Cultures bang and bump into each other and it forms a very funny, awkward beauty,” Elkins once said in an interview. His choreography celebrates that collision in a way that is refreshing, witty, and extremely accessible. Thursday through Saturday at 8 at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 4730 N. Sheridan; $12-$15. Call 271-7928 for tickets and information.

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