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Danceworks 2015 to Explore the “Ties That Bind”

Annual concert features choreography by Northwestern University dance faculty, guest artists

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A lively program of cutting-edge dance will explore the connectivity of families and communities through a range of unique and entertaining dance forms, including contact improvisationdance theatre, West African, modern, jazz and salsa.

Presented by the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts at Northwestern University, the Danceworks 2015, “Ties That Bind” production will be under the artistic direction of Northwestern School of Communication faculty member Jeffrey Hancock.

“Danceworks 2015” will be performed at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 27; 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28; 2 p.m., Sunday, March 1; 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 5; 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 6; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 8, at the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus.

Post-show discussions with Hancock will take place after the Feb. 27 opening night, March 1 and March 5 performances.

“Danceworks 2015” will include contemporary and modern dance choreography created by the School of Communication’s renowned dance faculty and guest artists. The works will be performed by a 29-member cast of Northwestern dance students.

The production will feature original choreography by Kevin DurnbaughJeffrey HancockDarrell JonesAmanda Lower, Sophia Rafiqi, Amy Swanson and Joel Valentin-Martinez. Valentin-Martinez is the director of the theatre department’s dance program.

“‘Ties That Bind’ engages with themes of family and community, and all the myriad of things these themes call to the mind and body: love, humor, connection, loss and the struggles with power that inform family and communal dynamics,” said Hancock, artistic director of Danceworks 2015.

Danceworks 2015 program highlights will include: 

• “Bound,” choreographed by Amy Swanson, is a movement exploration taking as its point of departure themes of entrapment, isolation and spatial and physical limitations resulting from situations that include oppressive relationships. Swanson is a student in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Theatre and Drama program at Northwestern. Her research interests include contemporary dance in Senegal, transnational circulation and postcolonial theories.

• “You're Invited,” by Sophia Rafiqi, invites audiences to watch three women/ladies/girls as they try on/throw off/and make tents out of themselves.

• Kevin Durnbaugh’s work, “Maybe? No. Yes!” is a rhythmically-charged piece comprised of two groups of dancers who respond differently to separate pieces of music, each with distinct energy. Adversarial at the start, they soon find common ground by giving in to the music, using full-bodied rhythm making, including body percussion, until they join forces in an energetic sprint to the finish.

• “B-Tracks,” a collaborative work by Jeffrey Hancock and Darrell Jones, plays with presentation as survival, taking loose inspiration from birds of paradise and today’s “voguing” culture ("highly stylized, modern house dance that evolved as a form of battle out of the gay Harlem ballroom scene in the 1980s’) until fierce statements of solo power are made.

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 for full-time Northwestern students only on advance purchase. Discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

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

Arts Circle Drive Now Open

After nearly three years of construction, Northwestern University’s Art Circle Drive has reopened to vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The road, drive-up handicap access to all Wirtz Center theaters, the pedestrian path at the lakefront and all sidewalks are now open for public use. New improvements to the South Beach Garage also has eliminated the need to use the stairways at the east and west ends of the two-story parking structure, which is now accessible to persons with disabilities for easy access to the Wirtz Center theaters. Additional parking is also available in the new Segal Visitors Center at 1841 Sheridan Road.

For more information, phone 847-491-4819, visit the Wirtz Center website at or email

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