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Danceworks 2006 Starts Feb. 24

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February 14, 2006 | by Judy Moore

“Danceworks 2006,” an annual showcase of the finest choreography of Northwestern University’s Dance Program faculty, will feature eight performances in a diverse program of new dances by six faculty choreographers and a reconstructed work from the internationally-renowned MOMIX dance company.

“Danceworks 2006” performances will be held at 8 p.m. Feb. 24; 8 p.m. Feb. 25; 2 p.m. Feb. 26; 8 p.m. March 1; 8 p.m. March 2; 8 p.m. March 3; 8 p.m. March 4; and 2 p.m. March 5, at the Josephine Louis Theatre, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus.

In conjunction with “Danceworks 2006,” youngsters aged 4 and older and their families are invited to a special 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 “Children’s Introduction to the Dance” program that also will be held at the Louis Theatre.

Northwestern University Dance Program Director Joseph Mills will direct this year’s program.

Images of mermaid lore predominate in Mills’ new work “Sweetly the Waves Call: Urging, Insisting.” Its six dancers explore a fluid sensuality in their movement that later transforms into more intensely physical movement with tumbling, spinning and leaping. It is choreographed to traditional Scottish and Irish tunes performed by cellist Barry Phillips.

Molly Shanahan’s ensemble piece, “The New Hungry,” investigates movement. It explores the body in alternating states of restriction or pent up energy, juxtaposing confrontation and tenderness, to convey feminine strength and anger. The costumes were inspired by Mexican wedding gowns from a painting by artist Frieda Kahlo.

Laura Wade’s contemporary ballet “Encuentros” will be performed to Bolivian folk music. It features angular, folk inspired movements reminiscent of the early Ballet Russe.

Jeff Hancock’s character-driven dance, “Ain’t Necessarily So,” takes a wacky look at relationships in an urban environment. The piece includes a mysterious bag lady, a sexpot, a nerdy guy, a perky hip chick, a junkie and three competitive new mothers a la June Cleaver in a segment called Stroller Derby. The eclectic sound score will vary from 1960s cocktail lounge music to the blues.

Alexis Leonard’s work, “As it Was,” will be danced to music by the Goth-inspired Arkansas rock band Evanescence and vocalist and Northwestern alumna Rachael Yamagata. The emotion-driven theatrical dance conveys anger, intensity and chaos that eventually evolves into an acknowledgement and acceptance of pain.

Glenn Leslie’s classic tap dance, “Out of a Rut and Into a Groove,” will be executed in the relaxed Jump Rhythm Jazz style that features complex polyrhythmic movements and a blend of rhythm tap and show styles. It begins with the music of “Bus Rider” by The Guess Who, and ends with crooner Mel Torme singing “A Shine On Your Shoes.”

Mills has reconstructed a piece by MOMIX, an internationally known company of dance illusionists, titled “Spawning.” Moses Pendleton, Cynthia Quinn, Lisa Giobbi and Diane Howarth originally choreographed the piece in 1986. It plays with images of femininity, mythology and nature  -- from burlesque to a mother bird nestling her unhatched egg to Atlas carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. The five women dancers will perform with outsize balloons to the haunting sounds of Peter Gabriel’s “Mercy Street.”

The Feb. 25 “Children’s Introduction to the Dance” program will feature excerpts from most of the dances in “Danceworks 2006” that will be performed by the show’s cast. An interactive segment will invite audience members to explore movement ideas from their seats. Dance Professor Susan A. Lee will moderate the informative program.

Tickets for “Danceworks 2006” are $20 for the general public; $18 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $10 for students. All tickets for “Children’s Introduction to the Dance” are $5.

To order tickets by phone, call the Theatre and Interpretation Center box office at (847) 491-7282. For more information or to order single or group tickets by phone, call the Theatre and Interpretation Center Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or order online at http://www.tic.northwestern.edu/tickets.html by clicking the TicketWeb icon.