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Danceworks’ 2017 showcase presents work by Eduardo Vilaro

  • Onye Ozuzu of Columbia College Chicago is another guest choreographer
  • Additional works are by Northwestern’s Jeff Hancock and Joel Valentín-Martínez
  • ‘Danceworks 2017: Current Rhythms’ will run Feb. 24 to March 5

EVANSTON - Ballet Hispánico Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro, Columbia College Chicago’s Onye Ozuzu and Northwestern University faculty Jeff Hancock and Joel Valentín-Martínez choreograph “Danceworks 2017: Current Rhythms” at Northwestern’s Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts.

Performances will be presented Feb. 24 to March 5 at the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, on the Evanston campus. A talkback discussion with the artists is scheduled for March 2. 

This year’s Danceworks program showcases a wide range of choreographic styles and techniques. The four choreographic works in the program include:

Eduardo Vilaro’s “With My Face to the Wall” is a reflection of the need to free oneself from oppression. “In searching for freedom,” Vilaro said, “one finds defiance and develops strength.”

Jeff Hancock’s “Smear” is an abstract narrative look at our virtual selves, the casual othering and violence of online comment culture, echo chambers and the human beings establishing and disrupting these systems. “Smear” takes design cues from science fiction and values virtuosic expression in minimal gesture and dynamic, athletic risk-taking. The dancers define and redefine themselves inside and outside these systems, said Hancock.”

Joel Valentín-Martínez’s “Distracted from Distraction by Distraction” is inspired by time past, time present and the perpetual possibilities that exist alongside distractions. 

“Her Words Masquerade as Me” (working title), choreographed by Onye Ozuzu is a tribute to Octavia Butler, an Afro-futurist who wielded the power of the near future, of the “not so far from,” of alternative perspective, of refraction. Ozuzu said, “[Butler] used it to loosen our emotional, historical and ideological holds on our place and position in time and space.”

Summing up the four works in the program, guest choreographer Vilaro said, “This concert will open up new avenues of discovery, because you are seeing work by artists that tempt you to think differently.”

“Danceworks 2017: Current Rhythms” is made possible with the support of Mellon Dance Studies at Northwestern and the Black Arts Initiative at Northwestern.

Performance times are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.

Tickets are $25 for the general public, $22 for seniors and educators, $20 for Northwestern faculty and staff and $6 to $10 for students with valid IDs.

Tickets are available on the the Wirtz Center website, by phone at 847-491-7282 or by visiting the Wirtz Center box office in the Barber Theater lobby at 30 Arts Circle Drive.

The Wirtz Center is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theatre, dance and visual arts.