Dance this . . .
July 15 at Moore Theater
IN ONE SENSE, all dancers are students, continuing to train throughout their careers. The performers of "Dance this . . .,"
however, are actual students, members of Seattle youth dance groups with a variety of styles and backgrounds. In this Seattle Theater Group-produced event their material ranges from traditional folk dance to jazz and hip-hop. And, if last summer's concert is any indicator, their collective effect on the audience should be electric.
For some of the companies involved, such as the HengDa Dance Academy, dancing is one way to maintain a connection to a centuries-old cultural heritage. Whether it's HengDa's Chinese dragon dance, the Mexican folk dance of Perlas Tapatias, or West African music and dance by Adefua, young performers can embody a history that may not be a part of their everyday lives.
Other companies represent the polyglot nature of American culture. Members of the Tap Squad perform a dance style that fuses African polyrhythms and Irish clogging. The hip-hop work by the Westlake Dance Center reflects influences from martial arts and gymnastics as well as more traditional dance sources. Performers from the Ewajo Dance Workshop mix African and Latin styles, while the modern dance ensemble Anomaly adds yet another dimension, working with images from natural forces like plate tectonics. Alongside works by these local groups, "Dance this . . ." includes a commissioned work by guest choreographer Abdel Salaam, which explores connections among African, Latin, and contemporary dance styles.
Although the performers of "Dance this . . ." are students, their performances will be anything but amateur. Whether you think of the title as a dare or an exclamation, it's an opportunity to see the diversity of our community reflected through movement.
Chamber Dance Company
July 18-22 at Meany Studio Theater, UW campus
FOR YEARS, summer at the University of Washington has been like a well-kept secret. The campus is beautiful, the classes less crowded, and the faculty in residence is relaxed and far more accessible. This year, though, the tempo is about to pick up, as the UW inaugurates its Summer Arts Festival.
Among the music and theater performances, gallery talks, and lectures on aesthetics, the UW Chamber Dance Company will show off some of the works in their current repertory of 20th-century modern dance.
CDC was founded with a dual agenda: to bring professional-level dancers to the UW dance program as models for the students and to train those dancers as teachers for other college dance programs. One benefit of this scheme is the performing ensemble, which over the last 10 years has presented many of the classics of modern dance. Up till now, though, they've only performed once a year; this new gig gives us another, fair-weather look at the group.
This summer's program is drawn from previous concerts. Jos頌im� Scherzo and Bonsai by Moses Pendleton from Pilobolus were both performed last winter—Beat by Mark Dendy and Doug Varone's Possession Quartet were presented in earlier seasons. The festival theme is "Quartets," which seems a bit vague but makes room for Limon's image of the dancer as divine human, as well as Pendleton's unique duet work, which makes two people look like one organism squirming under the microscope. Dendy and Varone's more contemporary works live beneath the umbrella of post-modern dance, with an emphasis on choreographic structures and matter-of-fact virtuosity.
If you haven't seen this ensemble yet, here's another chance. And, for those of us who have grown to appreciate CDC's living history lessons every winter, this extra season is particularly sweet, giving new meaning to the idea of summer school.