Hear the beat of dancing feet at UMCP Festival: Dancers to converge on University of Maryland, College Park for a regional, four-day-long session of classes and lectures -- as well as two performances.

March 22, 1998|By Judith Green | Judith Green,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Dancers, dancers everywhere -- filling studios, theaters and classrooms at the University of Maryland, College Park, which is playing host this week to the Mid-Atlantic Regionals of the American College Dance Festival.

More than 30 colleges and universities from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia and the Carolinas -- along with a few schools from Iowa, New York and Florida that found the dates of this region's festival more convenient than their own -- are participating in the four-day event.

Though most of the master classes, lectures and workshops are intended for registrants only, two performances will be open to the public: a presentation by the Joe Goode Performance Group of San Francisco to begin the festival Wednesday and a concert of works chosen by a three-judge panel from among more than 50 pieces brought by the schools.

The school pieces will be seen at informal showings throughout the festival.

For dancers with a high-tech bent, UMCP will offer a lab session with a computer-assisted choreography program called "Hands-On Life Forms." Developed by choreographer Merce Cunningham, the program formulates shapes and patterns that can be manipulated on the screen by an experimentally minded dance-maker.

Goode, whom critics once called "the bad boy of modern dance," is now a 47-year-old arts veteran ("It happens," he says) with a national reputation.

With his small but mighty company of six dancers, he creates works that consistently push the boundaries of dance, theater and performance art.

His group will offer sections of "Maverick Strain" (1996), a work that explores the Western frontier in popular culture, and excerpts from a new work, "Deeply There," that will have its premiere in San Francisco in June.

"It's a musical," says Goode. The songs are by Seattle composer Robin Holcomb, whom he characterizes as a kind of Northwest jTC Tori Amos or Carole King.

"It's about an alternative family that comes together to help someone die," says the choreographer, whose work has been much affected by the AIDS epidemic and the friends he has lost to it.

Goode and dancer-choreographers Mark Haim and Bebe Miller are the adjudicators of the dance entries, and will also give master classes for the students.

For information on the festival: 301-405-8552.

Dance concerts

What: Joe Goode Performance Group

Where: Tawes Theater, University of Maryland, College Park

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday

Tickets: $15

Call: Washington Performing Arts Society, 202-833-9800

Also: American College Dance Festival Gala, 8 p.m. Saturday, Tawes Theater, $10 unreserved

Pub Date: 3/22/98

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