The University Dance Company will inflame souls with their production, “Dances of Passion.” Touching on passions of love, crimes of passion and war, this evening of modern dance has something to offer everyone.

Paul Wong
University Dance Company leaps in excitement for their upcoming performance.<br><br>Courtesy of University Productions

Special guest choreographer Carlos Orta will premiere his work, “Breaking the Silence.” Based on the Picasso wartime mural “Guernica,” Orta uses sticks and large pieces of fabric to contrast the cubist images with the three dimensional forms of the dancers” bodies.

The most striking part of this piece is the bull solo, danced by University graduate student Jodi Leigh Allen, with its powerful movements contrasted by red fabric held in a semi-circle by the other dancers of the piece. This is the first performance of the completed “Breaking the Silence,” which had been set in pieces on the Jose Limon Company. Orta has been a choreographer and principal dancer with the Limon Company since 1979.

In addition to Orta”s piece, the performance will include two pieces by three faculty choreographers: Bill DeYoung, Sandra Torijano and Robin Wilson. “Rauxa,” choreographed by DeYoung and Torijano, is drawn off of time spent in Spain on sabbatical. The dance celebrates the juxtaposition of common sense and creative chaos.

Wilson celebrates the 100th birthday of Louis Armstrong, with her piece “Hot Five Rondo.” Weaving together two themes of passion, Armstrong”s passion for music and crimes of passion, Wilson considers her piece a tribute to everyone who dances. Wilson said of the theme “Dances of Passion,” her work “tied into the theme his music was so passionate, the passion of the dancers who danced to that music. The music had so much love of life and pushed so many boundaries.”

Interweaving the idea of crimes of passion with the passion of 1930s dances creates an energetic piece. The dances to Armstrong”s music are attributed to the genres of ballroom and social dances of the period: soft-shoe, hoofing, the Charleston, the Suzy Q, the Shorty George and the Lindy Hop. “While one is in black and white, one is in color, they are all about passion, just of different kinds,” said Wilson of the combination.

“Dances of Passion” will be an evening of entertaining, inspiring and thought-provoking dance. Of the performance as a whole, Wilson says, “it tries to inspire people to go dancing in the streets.”

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