"Danceworks 2009," an annual winter showcase of the choreography of Northwestern University's dance faculty, alumni and guest artists, will feature a myriad of dance styles, as well as a special one-day event featuring the Emmy Award-winning dance company Jump Rhythm Jazz Project.
Seven performances will be held at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27; 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28; 2 p.m. Sunday, March 1; 8 p.m. Thursday, March 5; 8 p.m. Friday, March 6; 8 p.m. Saturday, March 7; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 8, in the Josephine Louis Theatre, 20 Arts Circle Drive, on the University's Evanston campus.
In addition, as part of this year's Danceworks, the audience-interactive lecture-demonstration "Jump Rhythm Technique and the Language of Rhythm" will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 7, at the Louis Theatre by Jump Rhythm Jazz Project. The entertaining and educational show focuses on the subject of rhythm.
The pieces selected for "Danceworks 2009" blend varied forms and styles into an evening that represents what is current and significant in dance.
"This year's production will take you on a journey through radically diverse styles of moving, grounded in enduring, richly diverse dance traditions," said Susan A. Lee, professor of dance, coordinator of the Northwestern University School of Communication's Dance Program and artistic director of "Danceworks 2009." "While dance images are fleeting, the power of their ability to communicate is profound. As a result, we strive each year to craft a program that will appeal to both our loyal Danceworks fans and new audiences."
This year's showcase will feature the works of seven choreographers: Annie Arnoult Besserra, Martin "Tre" Dumas, Viola Elkins, Jeff Hancock, Billy Siegenfeld, Joel Valentin-Martinez and Laura Wade.
"Each choreographer has a unique movement vocabulary and each shares a commitment to a well-crafted dance that truly has something to say," added Lee.
Northwestern alumna Annie Arnoult Beserra conceived and choreographed "Stories to Tell" based on real stories of people living with schizophrenia. "Aunt Jeanette," the newest episode of "The Jenkins Farm Project," is an ongoing investigation of the choreographer's family history that questions the meaning of home, family, memory and mental illness.
For this year's "Danceworks," Chicago-based tap dancer, choreographer and Northwestern adjunct family member Martin "Tre" Dumas will premiere "Timing Machine," a number that combines classical and contemporary tap. A featured dancer in the North American and European tours of "Riverdance" from 1998 through 2000, Dumas recently joined the Chicago Human Rhythm Project as associate artistic director.
Northwestern adjunct dance faculty member and guest choreographer Viola Elkins created a "soulful and funky" urban piece, "groove2me." A representation of life's journey, it is about never knowing or understanding what lies ahead in life and the personal encounters that help to make one strong enough to combat life's obstacles. "It embraces what we feel and releases it through movement," said Elkins. She is former director for Culture Shock Chicago and the creative founder of the dance companies R.A.G.E. Project, RawFunkyStreet Flav and LeT thE fUNk fLOw.