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"Five Ways to Get to Heaven" at Grace Street Theater

Salvation Through Dance

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"Five Ways to Get to Heaven" is the first concert by Starr Foster/Dance Project that consists exclusively of work by company director Foster. The demands of producing, choreographing and dancing have limited the number of hours Foster has been sleeping lately, but her enthusiasm remains undiminished. The performance features four revivals and the premiere of "Prom Queen" at the Grace Street Theater on May 5-6.

Primarily a blend of VCU students and graduates, this local company delivers technically sophisticated, finely trained dancers. Foster's choreography is pure modern dance — rhythmic, energetic, symmetrical and largely abstract. This concert may be a first for Foster, but she's no foreigner to creating kinetically charged work.

Faded pastels reign in "Prom Queen," with the women wearing frilly prom dresses from the '50s, the men in baby-blue suits. The dresses, previously worn, no longer brightly colored or crisply pleated, match the untoward, indelicate behavior of these girls. Their movements, slow, pained, even crass, offer a cynical glimpse of femininity, one that is less demure than a young girl's parents might hope.

"Half Empty," which opened in 1995 and remains Foster's favorite work, shows her in one of her preferred dynamics, speed. If dancers aren't racing across the stage or diving into another's arms, they're falling flat on the stage, yanked away or sliding out of view. The brisk music of Henryk Gorecki adds to the frenzied pace of this well-balanced, breathless work.

Other works on the program consist of a reworked "Heaven," "Jilted," and the striking solo "Recall," performed by Kelly Eudailey. Company members include Eudailey, Kendall Baltimore, Katie Harris, Kathleen Legault, Tara Mullins, Blake Pearson, Renee Robinson and newcomer Matt Rogers.

"Five Way to Get to Heaven" runs 8 p.m., May 5-6 at Grace Street Theater. Tickets are $7 and $10. Call 343-3612 for details.

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