Those ballroom dancers are back on stage. For the third time in less than a year, American Ballroom Theater is in town with its repertory of fox trots, rumbas, lindy hops and other dances -- dances from the past for the romantic couple. The current run, at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater, opened last night and continues through Sunday with the same program shown on the two previous visits. People who've seen this bill before will be almost as entertained as those who haven't, because there are lots of details and distinctions to note within the sweep of these nostalgic measures.
Of the four pairs of dancers, Pierre Dulaine-Yvonne Marceau and Gary and Lori Pierce are streamlined, elegant types who skim the floor. The Nyemcheks, John and Cathi, have spunk and such a control of speed that their dancing can seem like stop motion. Richard and Bonnie Diaz, new to the company, are still on their best behavior -- amiably so.
The bill seems shorter than last summer at the Smithsonian, perhaps due to practice -- or were some passages trimmed? The smooth attack is less varied than it was before, and the final waltz would gain from the intrusion of a wicked lilt. These, though, are quibbles. American Ballroom Theater sends its public away wanting to dance, and that's just what the dressed-up first-nighters did in the gallery outside to the swing sound of Tom Cunningham and his big band.