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Danceworks 2007 to be Performed at Louis Theatre Feb. 23 to March 14

February 8, 2007 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- “Danceworks 2007,” an annual showcase of the finest choreography of Northwestern University's Dance Program faculty and alumni, will feature a diverse program of new dances by eight choreographers. The works will be performed to music that will range from Brazilian pop/rap and Gypsy folk songs to West African drums.

Performances will be held at 8 p.m. Feb. 23; 8 p.m. Feb. 24; 2 p.m. Feb. 25; 8 p.m. Feb. 28; 8 p.m. March 1; 8 p.m., March 2; 8 p.m. March 3; and 2 p.m. March 4, at the Josephine Louis Theatre, 20 Arts Circle Drive, on the University's Evanston campus.

Joseph Mills, director of Northwestern University's Dance Program, will direct this year's production. His new work, “Zabumba!,” begins with a melancholy “Bossanovaesque” rhythm and ends in a raucous bacchanal of carnivalesque comedy. It will be performed to instrumental music sung in Portuguese that is a fusion of Brazilian, pop and electronica recorded by the Dutch band Zuco 103.

Dance faculty member Billy Siegenfeld is the artistic director, principal choreographer and performing ensemble member of Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, a national and international touring company based in Chicago. Siegenfeld's rhythmic jazz-influenced folk dance is interspersed with earthy, gritty voices. Titled “god of dirt,” it is a series of duets-within-ensembles. The dancers heavy-booted movements mark out a ritual site for the affirmation of earth and the community that depends on it. It will be danced to Goran Bregovic's Gypsy folk songs.

Jeff Hancock, co-artistic director of Same Planet Different World Dance Theater, and a founding member and principal dancer for River North Chicago Dance Co. from 1991-2001, has created a new dance using a combination of jazz and contemporary movements he and the dancers developed. Titled “Mis(s)connect,” it explores communication technologies, highlighting the sometimes helpful and occasionally confusing barrage of information we all face in our daily lives. It will be performed to music by various artists, including Keith Sweat, Frank Zappa and Sam Cooke.

Dance faculty member Laura Wade, who also serves as ballet mistress for River North Dance Chicago, is remounting a modern work from the AKASHA Dance Company repertoire called “The Once Not Remembered.” It features nine vignettes about various types of relationships (men and women, two sisters, three women in one large skirt, etc.) and is performed by five dancers. Martin Kravitz originally choreographed the work in 1981, with music by Alexander Scriabin.

Sheelah Muhammad, assistant artistic director of Chicago's Le Bagatae Dance and Drum Ensemble, will present two traditional West African dances from Guinea. “Yankadi” is a popular dance of courtship danced by the Soussou, Temine and Mendenyi ethnic groups in the country's low coast region. “Macru” is a fervent dance celebrating the success of courtship.

“Stubborn Little Mules” by Dance Program alumna Jenny Shore, an emerging Chicago choreographer, is the tale of three parentless siblings living in wartime. Through gesture and expressive movement that ranges from lyric to militaristic, audiences will see the three dancers play, bicker, and plan and build in preparation for the last stand. It will be performed to music by a Czech rock 'n' roll band called Psi Vojaci.

Alumnae Stephanie Paul and Kevin Durnbaugh, former members of Boomshaka, the University's percussion, dance and rhythm ensemble, and co-founders of Be the Groove, a new Chicago-based rhythmic performance ensemble, are collaborating on a piece that is still untitled. It will explore how a group of dancers becomes a rhythmic community, and as a group both submits to and resists a piece of music. It will be danced to “Everybody Daylight,” a rock song by the Brightblack Morning Light.

“Danceworks 2007” tickets are $20 for the general public; $18 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $10 for students. To order tickets, call the Theatre and Interpretation Center box office at (847) 491-7282 or order online at <www.tic.northwestern.edu>.

Topics: Campus Life