People Dancing performances are filled with vigorous, athletic dancing, wry humor, and flamboyant theatrics. Under the direction of choreographer Whitley Setrakian, this sixmember troupe, based in Ann Arbor, performs works in the latest currents of contemporary dance. Setrakian's dancers are sensitive skilied professionals who have trained extensively with such modern dance notables as Viola Farber and May O' Donnell; and the new members of the Next Wave vanguard, Bill T. Jones and Margaret Jenkins. Setrakian's choreography reveáis her penchant for angular, staccato phrases and quick directional shifts contrasted with strong, forceful movement that hurtes and plows its way through space. She takes delight in the setting of pedestrian or ordinary movement against a more formal dance vocabulary - adding push-ups and chestscratching, for instance, to the elegant formal lines and small jumps contained in a solo work about male preening. Moments of stark beauty, of spare, minimal motion appear in her work. In Setrakian's theatrical idiom the storyline does not proceed linearly, instead, as in the popular, comic dance-drama "Aerobic Barbie," it skids out in fragments which come together in uncanny ways to make a whimsical dance with an unexpected cogency. Throughout the work Setrakian derides notions of expected behavior and exposes them with irony and subverts them with wit. She compiles both verbal and visual images of femininity - Jane Fonda, aerobic-chic, Barbie dolt vapidity and female careerism a la Cherry Ames, only to rag them and reveal their vacuous and even grim underside. Black humor replaces whimsy in "Fond du Lac," a bleak study of Victorian repression and the hysteria it fostered. Here too, a multiplicity of visual and a handful of verbal fragments come together to make a compelling and coherent whole. Both "Aerobic Barbie" and "Fond du Lac" will be performed in Ann Arbor for the first time in several years when People Dancing, join by the Ann Arbor Chamber Orchestra, will be n concert at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater, 91 1 N. University, Sept. 25 to 26. The program, a concert of nnovative and aventurous modern dance set to Baroque music, will feature two new works by Setrakina, one to a score by C. P. E. Bach and the other to music by Handel. For more nformation about the company or the concert cali the People Dancing Office at 996-5968.
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