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Danceworks 2010 on Stage April 23 to May 2

This year’s dance production toasts 30th anniversary of Northwestern Dance Program

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April 22, 2010 | by Judy Moore
Danceworks 2010 is an eclectic mix of Jump Rhythm Jazz, modern, classic jazz, contemporary, ethnic dance and movements associated with disciplines of the mind, body and spirit.  

EVANSTON, Ill. --- "Danceworks 2010," an annual showcase of the choreography of Northwestern University's nationally renowned dance faculty, alumni and guest artist, has something special to celebrate this year -- the 30th anniversary of the School of Communication's Dance Program.

In addition to the choreography of Jeffery Hancock, Archana Kumar, Susan A. Lee, Billy Siegenfeld, Molly Shanahan, Joel Valentin-Martinez and Meghann Wilkinson during seven performances, a 30th anniversary Danceworks 2010 Gala concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 2, also will include performances by choreographers Hancock, Shanahan, Siegenfeld and Brandi Coleman.

"Danceworks 2010" is open to the public and will take place on the Evanston campus at 8 p.m. Friday, April 23; 8 p.m. Saturday, April 24; 2 p.m. Sunday, April 25; 8 p.m. Thursday, April 29; 8 p.m. Friday, April 30; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 1; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 2, in the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive. Post-show discussions will follow the April 25 and 29 concerts.

An eclectic mix of Jump Rhythm Jazz, modern, classic jazz, contemporary, ethnic dance and movements associated with disciplines of the mind, body and spirit, the works featured in this year's show represent what is current and significant in dance.

Northwestern faculty member and founding director of the dance program Susan A. Lee, is the show's artistic director. Lee received the 2000 Ruth Page Award for Outstanding Contribution to Dance.

"Danceworks" program highlights include Lee's "She Was," a nostalgic romp that asks dancers to get their "groove on" and explore classic jazz dance traditions. It will be performed to the Beatles hit song "Day Tripper."  

Hancock and the dancers have created movement vignettes from true stories from the lives of the dancers, with music and vocabulary ranging from gestural and swing to post-modern, illustrating the dance's title, "Reasons for Moving." The work will be performed to the music of Benny Goodman, Max Richter and Beethoven.

Kumar's "No Boundaries" is an exploration of water that combines Indian and modern dance with motifs of Butoh and yoga. It will be performed to several songs by British musician Bonobo.

Shanahan is artistic director of the company Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak. Her dance "Stamina of Curiosity: Alternative to Fainting" is an extension of her ongoing work titled "Stamina of Curiosity" (2008-11). In that work, she explores the translation of a solo movement into ensemble contexts.

Siegenfeld's "god of dirt" combines jazz dancing with Goran Bregovic's Balkan folk music. Siegenfeld is founder, artistic director, principal choreographer and performing ensemble member of Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, an international touring company based in Chicago.

Choreographer Joel Valentin-Martinez's small ensemble dance "Undernearth" will be performed to the music of Rogelio Sosa and Steve Reich. Valentin-Martinez recently choreographed the musical adaptation of Sandra Cisnero's "The House of Mango Street" (2009) at Steppenwolf Theatre.

Northwestern alumna Meghann Wilkinson's "So Shiny" is a dance theatre piece that follows three characters and their humorously apathetic strivings amid a world of moonbeams, staircases and music.

Ticket prices are $20 for the general public; $18 for seniors 65 and older, Northwestern faculty and staff and area educators and administrators; and $10 for full-time students. Tickets may be purchased through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or online at www.tic.northwestern.edu.

Check out a preview video of Danceworks 2010: