Artifact

The cast of Artifact Dance Projects’ “Downtown.”

Artifact Dance Project

Is it possible to fall in love with a dance company?

Well, yes, if that company is Artifact Dance Project.

The home-grown troupe continually amazes with its productions, which are a combination of theater, music and dance. It’s current show, “Downtown,” is staged in the company’s downtown studio.

A jazz band — Daniel Slipetsky on piano, Fred Hayes on drums, Chris Black on bass and singer Rebecca Carlson — provides the soundtrack for the flirty, often witty dance.

At the Nov. 16 opening, the band started with the bluesy Sarah Vaughan classic “Black Coffee.” As Carlson’s made-for-jazz voice croons, the dancers enter. The men are in tan suits, the women in flowy coats glittering with sequins. As they began to move, the song — and really, we didn’t think this was possible — became more vivid, more sultry.

The hourlong concert continued with the band playing and singing jazz as the dancers leaped and jumped and swayed with mesmerizing grace.

Ashley Bowman’s choreography was often a literal interpretation of the lyrics — a dancer handed out roses in the “La Vie en Rose” number, they mimed shooting a gun in “Bang Bang.” What made this concert so much fun was how playful it was. The dancers often interacted with the audience, made eye contact, shook hands.

The music was sublime; so was the dance, especially Marquez Johnson, who exudes personality and has the ability to literally float through the air.

Artifact always performs with live music, and is always theatrical, imaginative and surprising. And it is packed with talent. This concert is no exception.

Really, what’s not to love?

Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at kallen@tucson.com or 573-4128. On Twitter: @kallenStar