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Lewitzky Dance Company.

TRYON FESTIVAL THEATRE, KRANNERT CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, URBANA, ILLINOIS APRIL 26-27, 1996 REVIEWED BY GINA PERILIE

Bella Lewitzky's new Four Women in Time is directly inspired by feminist artist Judy Chicago's mammoth multimedia piece, The Dinner Party. Chicago's work, which was illustrated by large-scale color photographs in the theater's lobby, presents thirty-nine place settings representing important historical women and goddesses.

The first plate at The Dinner Party is that of the Primordial Goddess, the original female. Lori McWilliams as the Goddess gives birth to her ensemble subjects in an exhausting explosion of sprints and turns. McWilliams's physicality is compact and strongly connected to the floor while the "children" anxiously mimic her every move. Their feverish spinning leaves them quivering in blind depletion.

Section two of the forty-five-minute work is dedicated to parading the feminine wisdom of the mythological Sophia. Yolande Yorke-Edgell leads the company across the stage in a reverent sweep, pausing to create mountains of braided bodies lapping over one another. Lewitzky's hand as sculptor is most clearly defined in this section; the physical reverence paid to Sophia is carefully crafted in its lush indulgence. Roman scholar Hypatia is the next woman highlighted. Karen Woo brings depth to the scholar's more subdued rhythm of communication. Her ritual pointing to all horizons incites intrigue and, eventually, passions from her followers, though never without control.

English writer Virginia Woolf and her struggle with insanity are brought to life by Heather Harrington. Layers upon layers of ticking clocks create manic music (by Larry A. Attaway) as Harrington feverishly paces across the stage. Although Woolf's dance has moments of great peace and physical lucidity, all of the grace occurs in solitude, making this section the most disturbing to watch. A unifying epilogue, suggesting a gentle familiarity across time, followed the main dance on opening night (Lewitzky later cut it).

The Krannert Center presented Four Women in Time as part of a three-year initiative devoted to highlighting the efforts of women in shaping contemporary dance. Lewitzky has announced that this work is the last she will make for her company, which she will disband following the 1996-97 season.
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Title Annotation:Tryon Festival Theatre, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Urbana, Illinois
Author:Perille, Gina
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Oct 1, 1996
Words:356
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