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Jump Rhythm Jazz Presents Revised Works

June 13, 2006 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University's Dance Program has announced that Jump Rhythm Jazz Project (JRJP) will present a weekend of concerts (June 17-18) featuring the premieres of several newly revised works as well as the ensemble's classic repertory.

Performances will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 17, and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 18, at the University's Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. A special children's matinee for youngsters of all ages will be held at 1 p.m. June 17, at the Louis Theater.

Based in Chicago, the company is an ensemble of dancer-singer-actors who perform and teach nationally and internationally. For more information about JRJP visit <www.jrjp.org>.

The JRJP program will include the Chicago premiere of the newly revised “The News from Poems” which reflects on the impossibility of innocence during times of war, with choreography and vocal arrangements by Billy Siegenfeld, JRJP artistic director. The work was inspired by Giuseppe Ungaretti's war poems, W. H. Auden's “September 1, 1939,” Marianne Moore's “In Distrust of Merits” and William Carlos Williams' “Asphodel, That Greeny Flower.” The title draws from lines in the Williams poem.

Premieres of two revised works include “If Winter” and “I Hear Music.” “If Winter,” originally commissioned by the José Limón Dance Foundation in New York City, is a dance-poem on the seasons, affirming the rightness of weather, no matter how chilling its effects on the human spirit. “I Hear Music” is a free-association romp that features tap dancing and vocal arrangements by Siegenfeld and musical quotations by Frank Loesser, Rodgers and Hammerstein, the Isley Brothers, Leonard Bernstein, The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

“Poppy And Lou,” a duet choreographed by Siegenfeld and dedicated to his parents, is set to a recording by jazz singer and pianist Blossom Dearie. The classic piece concludes with a poignant coda interpretation of “Surrey With The Fringe On Top” by Chicago pianist Steve Rashid.

The June concerts will celebrate a year of national and international recognition for Siegenfeld, JRJP founder and Northwestern University Dance Program faculty member. Siegenfeld received the 2005 Jazz Dance World Congress Award for making “major contributions to the field of jazz.” The position of Fulbright Senior Scholar, conferred by the U.S. Fulbright Commission, took him to Finland to teach his original Jump Rhythm Jazz technique. Siegenfeld received the 2006 Ruth Page Award from Chicago's Ruth Page Foundation for his “vibrant dance artistry, development of a unique dance vocabulary and the exciting choreography created in that technique.”

Ticket prices for the 8 p.m. June 17 and 2 p.m. June 18 performances range from $10 to $25. Tickets for the June 17 children's matinee are $5. To order tickets, call (847) 491-7282.

Topics: Campus Life