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'Danceworks 2012' Portrays Slices of Life

Annual show spotlights choreography by Northwestern University dance faculty

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February 23, 2012 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- “Danceworks 2012,” a dynamic collection of world premieres and repertory favorites, will offer audiences a chance to experience the full spectrum of contemporary dance and the way people cope with life’s ups and downs through movement, song, language, relationships and popular media.

Presented by the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University, and under the artistic direction of Northwestern faculty member Annie Beserra, “Danceworks 2012” will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24; 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26; 8 p.m. Thursday, March 1; 8 p.m. Friday, March 2; 8 p.m. Saturday, March 3; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 4, at the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus. 

Talkbacks with Beserra and the artists will follow the Feb. 24, Feb. 26 and March 1 performances.

“Danceworks” will include modern, Jump Rhythm tap, hip-hop and ballet choreography created by the School of Communication’s renowned dance faculty and guest teachers. The works will be performed by a company of up-and-coming Northwestern student dancers. 

The production will feature original choreography by Beserra, Jeff Hancock, Amanda Exley Lower, Stephanie Paul, Billy Siegenfeld (2011 Dance Chicago Choreographer of the Year), Joel Valentin-Martinez and Laura Wade.

“The biggest strength of ‘Danceworks’ is that, rather than being a repertory company known for one particular style, it features different dance forms and dance techniques by choreographers who share an interest in dynamics, athleticism, music and emotion,” said Beserra. 

Seven pieces will be featured in each “Danceworks 2012” performance. In “Being Valeska,” hard-hitting choreography and text by Beserra invoke Valeska Gert, a renegade dance-theatre-film artist in 1920s Berlin. “Reclamation,” an excerpt from “Resurfacing” by Hancock, uses text, video and movement to show a world of abundance lost and reclaimed. “Thin Wire” by Lower explores piecing life back together after tragedy. Paul’s “Animal Kingdom” is a hip-hop-infused critique of reality TV. Audiences will experience the celebration of funk-blues in “The Sumptuous Screech of Simplicity” by Siegenfeld. Valentin-Martinez’s “Warm Distance” presents a community struggling with economic uncertainty. Wade’s “Fazed” traces the fall of a hero and the limits of reality. 

Single tickets are $25 for the general public; $22 for seniors and full-time students; and $5 for Northwestern full-time students with advance purchases or $10 at will-call. Tickets for groups of eight or more are $8 to $22. Tickets may be purchased through the TIC Box Office at  (847) 491-7282 or online at www.tic.northwestern.edu.