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Second Annual Choreographer's Showcase on Feb 9-11

Choreographers' Showcase

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When a program is successful, it usually encourages the producers to want to repeat the act. That's exactly what Artspace Performance Series and Starr Foster Dance Project have done with the " Second Annual Choreographers' Showcase," a gathering of choreographers from throughout Virginia. This weekend's lineup includes an impressive variety of all new work — most so new that titles weren't decided upon at the time of this writing. What stands out in this concert is the predominance of men. In a field dominated by women, it's rare to find a concert with many men, either as dancers or choreographers. Seven of the nine choreographers are men. Starr Foster Dance Project member Blake Pearson grabbed the opportunity to present work. " It's great to have a venue to experiment with work and to bring other choreographers together," he says. His as-yet-untitled piece combines improvised movement with beloved characters from children's stories which he'll be reading. Other company members' offerings include Charlie Scott, who will perform a solo exploring themes of spiritual travel; and Matthew Rogers, who offers vocalizing and bright colors in " As Simple as a Symbol Of" Jim Hansen, a recent addition to the dance faculty at William and Mary, has called upon the assistance of colleague Gary Galbraith, a principal dancer with the Martha Graham Company, to perform " Dusty Fields." Drawn from a period in Hansen's life when he was having difficulty with relationships, his duet starts humorously and gets progressively more serious. Bill Dufford of Charlottesville, recently returned from Massachusetts after extended study of contact improvisation, will wear a straightjacket for his solo. The restrictive clothing allows him to explore restlessness and ways to expand his body. Musician Austin Fitch and dancer Tia Platte switch creative roles in their angst-ridden collaboration. Although there are relatively few regional modern dance companies, concerts like these prove choreographers are not in short supply. The show's sponsors want to make sure that work by individual choreographers gets seen. Good for the dancers; good for audiences.

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