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FRIDAY

For most of us, doing the limbo is precarious. But for the fluid-bodied students of choreographer Garth Fagan, it’s no problem. Neither are backward movements that seem to send their performers keeling toward the floor, stop just in time, switch directions completely, and then turn into a series of torso contractions. Unpredictability is the key, and Fagan is its master. When he formed Garth Fagan Dance 30 years ago, he already had an arsenal of folk dances from his Jamaican youth to work with. After he studied with the likes of Alvin Ailey, Jose Limon, and Martha Graham, he merged those Afro-Caribbean moves with ballet and modern dance. The result is a signature style that looks wholly original—if a bit quirky—and has won Fagan, among other honors, a Tony Award for Best Choreography for The Lion King. But Fagan remains true to his roots: From merengue to calypso, the traditional dances that are required learning for Caribbean school kids peek out of his works as so many oscillating arms and pelvic twists. Whether the music is the feisty ragtime of Prelude, the mellow Brahms of Mix 25, or the 16th-century chants of Cristobal de Morales in Two Pieces of One: Green, the movements of Fagan’s dances are as contagious as carnival fever. At 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18, at the George Mason University Center for the Arts, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax. $25-$35. (703) 993-8888. (Ayesha Morris)