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Danceworks 2014 Tackles ‘Hot Button’ Issues

Annual dance concert features choreography by Northwestern dance faculty


EVANSTON, Ill. --- Danceworks 2014: “HOT BUTTONS,” a rich tapestry of contemporary and modern dance forms, will be presented at Northwestern University from Feb. 28 through March 9.

Featuring original choreography created by the School of Communication’s renowned dance faculty and guest teachers, the upcoming event was inspired by the Theatre and Interpretation Center  (TIC) at Northwestern University’s stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” earlier this season. 

Part of TIC’s mainstage season, Danceworks 2014: “HOT BUTTONS” will tackle society’s “hot button” issues -- from manners, mannerisms and body types to attitudes about gender and sexuality.

Performances will take place at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 28; 8 p.m., Saturday, March 1; 2 p.m., Sunday, March 2; 7:30pm, Thursday, March 6; 8 p.m., Friday, March 7; 8 p.m., Saturday, March 8; and 2 p.m., Sunday, March 9, at the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus.

This year’s featured choreographers are Emma Draves, Jeff Hancock, Sarah Edgar, Lizzie Leopold, Amanda Lower, Joel Valentin-Martinez and Laura Wade. The works will be performed by Northwestern student dancers.

“This will be a thoughtfully choreographed, beautifully danced evening,” says Susan A. Lee, Northwestern dance program coordinator and Danceworks 2014 artistic director. “It includes a revival of a Danceworks favorite, several premieres and live music.”

Pre-show conversations about the danceworks with Lee will take place at the start of the Feb. 28, March 2 and March 6 performances.

Danceworks 2014: “Hot Buttons” seven dances will include:

• Passe," choreographed by Sarah Edgar, explores the public and private body and pairs the music of French composer Marin Marais, performed live on instruments of the period, with dancers who are doing their best to conform their bodies to baroque rules of decorum. The private body, however, constantly breaks through to the surface, attesting to the difficulties of hiding beneath the polished veneer of etiquette and manners.

 “Impolite Society,” a comic work by Jeff Hancock, explores sexuality, power and socialized roles through gestural work, athletic movement and partnering. Six dancers, framed by a set of silver chairs call to mind a manic game of musical chairs in which the chairless are cast out.

White Light Motif,” choreography by Lizzie Leopold, invites the audience to ask questions about perception, color, contrast and illumination. An exploration of the practical and metaphorical, Leopold is inspired by modern dance and theatrical lighting pioneer Loie Fuller. It challenges the notion that to see is to know.

“Dear Torvald, Love Nora,” by guest choreographer Emma Draves, examines beliefs about femininity and the body. With a movement vocabulary culled from Draves' study of modern and classical Indian dance, the work references the final scene of Ibsen's, “A Doll's House” in which the protagonist questions her role as mother and wife and her identity in general.

“HOT BUTTONS” also includes Laura Wade’s “Second Chance,” Joel Valentín-Martinez’s “Reflection” and Amanda Exley Lower’s “The Women Inside.”

Single tickets are $25 for the general public; $22 for seniors over 62 and Northwestern faculty and staff and educators; and $10 for full-time students with valid IDs (at the door) or $5 tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchase. Discounts are available for groups of eight or more. 

Tickets may be purchased online, by phone at (847) 491-7282, or in person at the Ethel M. Barber Theater lobby at 30 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. The box office is open from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

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