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ISSUE 121 VOL 18 PUBLISHED 4/25/2008

Zenon troupe excites

By Margaret Wade
Arts Editor

Friday, April 25, 2008

Zenon Dance Company presented its 25th anniversary spring season at The Southern Theater Friday. From abstract modern to comical jazz, Zenon dancers exuded athleticism, energy and joy.

This small contemporary company commissions works by emerging choreographers from the Twin Cities and New York in addition to internationally renowned masters. Zenon strives to challenge its audience, while remaining accessible.

As a modern dance newbie, I was shocked to see the postmodern patterns and to hear the dissodance of conflicting vocalizations and music. Although the performance was beyond my comfortable scope of pirouettes and point shoes, Zenon drew me into the intriguing world of new forms.

The program features modern dance world premieres by two emerging New York choreographers. Sean Curran's "Hard Bargain" highlights both the athleticism and sensitivity of Zenon's male dancers. Jeanine Durning's "Where are these days, again?" conveys psychological struggle set on four female dancers. Durning's work included flailing limbs, men's underwear, obsessive counting and characters that reminded me of Bertha from Jane Eyre.

Cathy Young's "The Secret Life of Walt and Kitty" (2000) was a jazz number that captured the rollercoaster of love through chasing, repetition of classic dance steps, and even cat-like crawling. Susana Tambutti's couple dance, "Like An Octopus," (1992) played with symmetry as both dancers wore matching tuxedos and shimmied through fog. They exercised levels by dancing up and all round a giant wooden box.

The final dance, "Garden," (2006) included amoeba-like couples that reminded me of wood nymphs as they frolicked across the stage and up the walls.

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