IF YOU'RE FEELING a bit logy after all that turkey and pie you've ingested, there's no more uplifting way to work it off than to stomp and sway with the National Dance Company of Senegal.
Audience participation is a given once this vibrant ensemble of dancers and musicians launches into their rhythms and steps. Inspired spectators have been known to leap out of their seats and boogie in the aisles, throw money at the performers, even join them onstage.
Now on their 20th international tour, the troupe came into existence in 1960, just after Senegal had won its political independence. President-elect Leopold Senghor, poet and visionary, declared that the company's primary mission would be to present "the true face of Senegal" at home and abroad. Since that time, the government-supported ensemble has lived up to that goal, introducing audiences to art forms that are at once centuries-old and absolutely contemporary. The electric interplay between musicians and dancers, the complex isolation of body parts, the celebration of individual performers and the group as a whole speak both of tradition and modern-day artistic practices.
The program -- completely new to Washington audiences -- combines storytelling dances with those that are purely movement and music. One piece contains a wrestling match and another focuses on a dance competition. Performers on stilts lumber on, and acrobats roll by. Many different national ethnic groups are represented in these works, but all convey a respect for community and an almost religious devotion to rhythm. NATIONAL DANCE COMPANY OF SENEGAL -- Through Sunday at the Warner Theater. Call 626-1050.