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NIU concert features modern, classical dances

Published: Thursday, April 24, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

Living Out Loud is a humorous blog about boisterous African-American women. It also is the title and the inspiration of one of the six titled dance performance pieces of the Northern Illinois University School of Theatre Dance spring dance concert, opening today.  

“Living Out Loud shows how African-American women have been silenced for so long in work, play and their personal lives, and now they can finally celebrate themselves and speak out,” choreographer and NIU faculty member Paula Frasz said in a news release.  

The performance piece involves three sections, with the first two showing through dance the inability to “speak,” and the final showing 12 black women celebrating their “voice.”  

The Spring 2014 Dance Concert is a collection of six pieces ranging from jazz to ballet. The concert also includes a performance of Pas de Quatre, originally choreographed by Jules Perrot in 1845 and restaged by the coordinator of the SoTD dance program, Judith Chitwood. As an historical dance piece, Chitwood believes the Pas de Quatre, which featured four of the greatest ballerinas of the 19th century, captures the essence of the Romantic period ballet style. 

“Pas de Quatre is a catty and competitive ballet performed by four ballerinas,” Chitwood said in the release. “There is great dancing with a little tongue in cheek rivalry.”  

Other pieces in the concert include a lively and fast-paced folk dance titled Tarantella – to dance it was originally believed to cure venomous spider bites – and a jazz piece choreographed by guest artist Robert McKee.

According to Chitwood, this concert showcases students’ ability to tackle the classics as well as modern and contemporary styles of dance.

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