Some of that pitter-patter was on tape Dance: Producers of 'Riverdance' admit the sound of dancing feet wasn't all live.

Theater and Dance

September 07, 1998|By Judith Green | Judith Green,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Not that it matters to anyone but purists in these days of amplified everything, but the thunder of tapping feet you'll hear at "Riverdance" (Dec. 1-20, Lyric Opera House) and "Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance" (May 4-9, Lyric Opera House) does not come entirely from the dancers. It doesn't even come from the microphones.

According to a recent item in the Periscope section of Newsweek, the producers of "River- dance" finally have admitted that the taps are augmented by prerecorded sound. Anyone who saw "Lord of the Dance" at the Baltimore Arena last summer knew it. The entire downtown knew it. Seismic indicators from here to Nashville knew it.

Doesn't anyone (besides me) think the performers -- champion Irish dancers in both productions -- are admirable for what they can do, not for sound effects ladled on by someone else?

Webre to head ballet

Septime Webre has been named artistic director-designate of Washington Ballet, succeeding Mary Day, its founder and director for 44 years. He will take over the company in the fall of 1999.

Webre, who is from Austin, Texas, and graduated from the University of Texas with a pre-law major, has been resident choreographer and artistic director of American Repertory Ballet Princeton, N.J., since 1993.

He choreographed the production of "Swan Lake" that his company brought to the Gordon Center in Owings Mills in 1997.

In other Washington Ballet news, Amanda McKerrow and her husband, John Gardner, both of American Ballet Theater, will perform the late Clark Tippet's quirky duet, "Some Assembly Required," in the company's performances Oct. 8-11 at the Kennedy Center.

McKerrow, an ABT principal dancer, was the first American to win a gold medal in the International Ballet Competition, held in Moscow in 1981.

Master classes

Many fine dancers and choreographers visit area campuses this year to conduct master classes, create new works and impart dance wisdom. Some visits are open to the off-campus population as well. Here's a rundown:

Goucher College, Towson: Stephen Greenston of Stuttgart Ballet and his wife, dance therapist Iris Braeuninger, just finished a week of lectures and classes.

Greenston has created a piece called "The Calm and the Storm," set to one of J. Barnes' "Pagan Dances," for the Goucher dancers, who will perform it in November. Katherine Ferguson of the Goucher faculty calls it "power-packed."

Other artists this fall are Daniel Levans, ballet master for Eliot Feld's Ballet Tech, and Gabriel Masson of the Lucinda Childs and Doug Varone companies.

In the spring, the college will welcome Robert Hill of American Ballet Theater and independent choreographer Tere O'Connor as guest teachers and choreographers. Information on master classes: 410-337-6390.

Towson University's dance department will perform a work by Peter Pucci (formerly of Pilobolus, now director of Peter Pucci + Dancers) on its spring concert. Pucci will teach master classes ,, this fall (dates to be announced). So will Juan Carlos Rincones, artistic director of D.C. Contemporary Dance Company. The Eisenhower Dance Ensemble from Michigan will be in residence Sept. 17-18. Register by calling 410-830-2760.

At the University of Maryland, College Park, Li Chiao Ping will be in residence in January, setting a work on student dancers and trying out the choreography for a large-scale piece called "The Odyssey," to be performed in New York later this season. Other choreographers on campus include Heidi Latsky (of Goldhuber & Latsky), and jazz master Gus Solomons Jr. Mark Haim and Terry Creech will judge works for the spring choreography showcase.

John Dixon (formerly of Kei Takei's Moving Earth) and Lionel Popkin (who teaches at Temple University in Philadelphia) will be on campus Feb. 18-24, teaching and rehearsing. Dixon will give a free solo performance Feb. 22, and the pair will dance Feb. 23-24. All events are in the Dorothy Madden Theater in the Dance Building.

The university is still negotiating with the Publick Playhouse in Cheverly to sponsor a residency by Urban Bush Women in mid-February. Information on all events: 410-405-3198.

For the spring gala, "Expressions," Baltimore School for the Arts dancers will perform new works by Anton Wilson of Jennifer Muller/The Works, David Parsons and David Grenke, formerly of Paul Taylor Dance Company, now director of his own company, Things As I See 'Em. John Clifford will return to set George Balanchine's Gershwin ballet, "Who Cares?," on the students. Jaime Martinez probably will be the designated dancer for Parsons. Lisa de Ribere will return to the school Sept. 24-25 to cast her "Nutcracker." Interested dancers may call 410-396-1185.

Pub Date: 9/07/98

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