"Suburban Mania" is being choreographed in a crowded hallway: "Hot Spot" is jumping on stage, and the cast of "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" is in an exercise room, complete with bellbars, at Luther Jackson Intermediate School.
It is the mid-week rehearsal for the Fairfax County Modern Dance Company, which will perform each of the three works in its annual spring concert this month. The simultaneaous rehearsals graphically spotlight the how-to-succed-in-business-by-REALLY-trying spirit of this thoroughly modern dance group.
Sally Morovitz organized the community dancers three years ago to serve Northern Virginia dance lovers, she said. "The basic idea was to give teens and adults who've studied modern dance a chance to perform."
The performing company was a logical outgrowth of modern dance classes she initiated nearly a decade ago, when, according to Morovitz, there was almost no modern dance training in the county.
Her interest in modern dance dates back to 1951 when she first saw a company perform at Fairfax High School.
"I was a senior there . . . and had never known there was such a thing before. After taking one look, I said to myself 'I can do that,'" she said.
Morovitz got heng one look, 'I can do that,'" she said.
Morovitz got her first modern dance training in a physical education class at college and ended up joining the campus modern dance company. Later, she studied with Doris Humphrey, Jose Limon and Martha Graham and taught dance at the University of Georgia. She also performed locally for two years with the Washington Dance Reportory Company, Erika Thimey's Dance Theatre and the George Washington Dance Production group.
A native Virginian, Morovitz has a strong commitment to Fairfax Country, her home since 1947.
"I want to keep myself and my work here . . . and see modern dance performed in this country," she said. "Local people should have a chance choreograph and perform. Dancers are always in the bottom scale of salaries anyhow. They would never think of striking or anything like that. They want to dance and if they can't get paid for it, they volunteer."
So her 10 company members, along with nine apprentices, basically have been working as "volunteers" twice aweek since November, she said, choreographing and rehearsing a variety of original modern dance works for the spring concert.
"We're not in a position to teach dancers, but draw from people who have training and may be studying somewhere else," she said. "I set choreography on the company using their combined styles and strengths.
"Mostly we set up this company to serve dancers who work and have families. That's what it's all about."
The dancers' commitment is to rehearse once or twice weekly and to attend at least one technique class a week (at a studio of their choice), November through March.
But the dancing does not stop there, Morovitz points out. Dancers are allowed to choreograph their own works. That policy is reflected in the nine new works on the March program, five by Morovitz, three by company members Charles Cook, Sharon Clohessy and Judith Dunlap and one by apprentice Elizabeth Lukasavich.
The dancers also pay for and make their own costumes, with occasional pieces supplied by the county's costume shop.
Current members of the dance company range in age from about 20 to 49, Morovitz said.
Sharon Clohessy, 24, of Fairfax, has been with the company since it began. She studied dance in college and now teaches tap, jazz and ballet at a local studio.
"One thing I like about the company is that it's out here (in the suburbs), not downtown in Washington . . . We're also trying different things,"
Edwin Gardner, 27, of Arlington, one of two men in the company, has performed with community groups as an actor and musical comedy dancer. He says his interest in dance came from browsing through magazines as a kid. "I just happened upon Dance Magazine and used to read it all the time," he said.
Gardner was a member of the dance company at George Washington University, where he is a senior, until a recent injury forced him to quit.
"This is sort of a comeback for me," he said of the Modern Dance Company. "It's a chance to dance and an opportunity to do choreography, which is what I want to do professionally."
Other company members are Patricia Bernal and Andrea Dembowski of Vienna, Marilyn Handcox of Annandale, Louise Hershkowitz of Fairfax, Becki Smith of Falls Church and Lynn Smith of Alexandria. Apprentice members include Sharon Comer of Vienna, Linda D'Andrea, Hannah Finn, Anne Lauver and Ann Steele of Falls Church, Carla Jaransen of Burke, Melanie Kiley of Fairfax and Fran Naturale of Alexandria.
Fairfax County Modern Dance Company will perform March 18 at 8 p.m. and March 19 at 3 p.m. at McLean High School, 1633 Davidson Rd. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for students and senior adults. For more information, call 691-2671.