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Happendance, Dart Auditorium, Lansing, Michigan, March 28, 1998.

HAPPENDANCE DART AUDITORIUM, LANSING, MICHIGAN MARCH 28, 1998 REVIEWED BY KATE O'NEILL

Founded twenty-two years ago this month, Happendance is Michigan's longest-running professional dance company. What started as an organized summer "happening"--an outdoor concert put together by local dancer Diane Newman and friends--soon developed into a permanent troupe. Over the years, it has moved from the easygoing, jazzy pieces of its early outdoor concerts to the substantial mix of styles and subject material seen on its most recent program.

The concert opened with Brandenburg (1960), revived for the company by choreographer Joan Hartshorne, a member of the Jose Limon Dance now working in Cleveland. to Bach reflects the strong of Doris Humphrey, with its stylized arm gestures and locomotor patterns that surge through space, by the sudden explosion of a jete.

It was good to revisit the 1988 ballet Crepitant Whispers by artistic director M. Jane Heppner-Gamble. An inveterate animal lover, Heppner-Gamble dedicated this work to "the social and gentle nature of the wolf." The Floor-hugging wolf movement seemed to capture the essence of a wolf pack's solidarity, and a dancer's hand curved high over her head eloquently suggested the wolf's howl to the moon.

Newman's mesmerizing solo, Flotsam and Jetsam, a premiere performed by Melissa Bischoff, opened with the dancer in a sandy gray unitard and a seaweed-like headdress standing upstage with her back to the audience, hands clasped above her head, torso undulating to the sound of surf, captured in Jesse Melcher's synthesizer score. As the surf gathered force, so did the dance, taking Bischoff into body rolls and head stands, ever heightening the sense of being tossed in the waves.

Other works on the program were the premiere of Jadilyn Pugh's A Requiem, a lovely, flowing dance about the healing power of faith in the face of grief; Mary Jo Smet's 1990 Mixed Messages, a wry commentary on life with answering machines; and the final premiere, Kokopelli, by Pugh and Heppner-Gamble, which drew inspiration from that Native American spirit, here represented by a metal sculpture onstage.
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Author:O'Neill, Kate
Publication:Dance Magazine
Date:Aug 1, 1998
Words:340
Previous Article:Boston Ballet, Wang Theatre, Boston, March 5-15, 19-29, April 2-12, 1998.
Next Article:Martha Graham Dance Company, Coolidge Auditorium, The Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., May 14-16, 1998.
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