Buffy Price's gentle dances take their contextual and movement themes from nature. Last night at Dance Arts Moving Arts' theater in the Church of the Epiphany, Buffy Price and Dancers, a company of six earnest young women, portrayed fireflies, clouds and stars, among other phenomena.

Price's dances are soundly constructed. Themes are developed, dynamics change; the dances build. The choreography wafts over the music (by Philip Glass for "A Crowd of Fireflies Dancing in the Blackness Clouds Above Serene" and Rhonda Coullet for "Stars") without really responding to rhythm and tension, but without fighting it. The dancers are eager and perform the simple movements well, if a bit self-consciously. There is a consistency of tone about Price's work; consistently simple and serene. It's also very feminine: passivity presented as a positive force.

But serenity can induce somnolence, and seeing grown women flutter around wiggling their fingers as fireflies, or, dressed in baggy whites, rolling on the floor to suggest clouds, reminded me of Girl Scout meetings on rainy days.

Also on the program was company member Sandra Kammann's "Naked Earth, Morning Sky," similar in theme, but with more punch than Price's work, and less craft.

-- Alexandra Tomalonis

John Sebastian

It's been a long time since his Lovin' Spoonful days, but John Sebastian is still the same affable, upbeat guy singing some of the most hummable songs on earth. His solo performance at the Birchmere last night drew heavily on the Spoonful's hits. Using only his creaky voice and an electric guitar, Sebastian managed to grant the right good-timey feel to songs like "Nashville Cats" and "Jug Band Music."

As memorable a songwriter as Sebastian is, some of his tunes, like his TV theme "Welcome Back," were a little too slight. Nonetheless, Sebastian, who appears at the Frederick Craft Fair today, was consistently charming, especially on wistful classics like "Younger Girl."

Donal Leace opened the show with an entertaining and eclectic set of song interpretations. Leace was particularly moving when he lent his high, subtle voice to nicely understated versions of Bobby Bland's "Members Only" and Rodgers and Hart's "It Never Entered My Mind."

-- Joe Sasfy