DANCE THIS . . .
Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine, 292-ARTS. $7- $10. 7 p.m. Sat., June 30.
DURING ITS REGULAR season, the Seattle Theatre Group presents a varied menu of dance, from the Bolshoi to 33 Fainting Spells, but come June it nurtures the next generation. The title of the summer's edition, "DANCE this . . . ," sounds like a challenge, but it's really more of an invitation to appreciate the desire and commitment local performers put into their art. Featuring several groups maintaining a connection to their ethnic heritage through dance, the performance explores how traditions are changing in America's polyglot culture.
Morning Star Korean Dance practices a form known for its subtlety, where the swinging of dancers' bell-shaped costumes is as impressive as any actual steps they take. Hands are often hidden inside long sleeves, giving arm gestures a magical look where the limbs seem to dissolve into nothing. This should be a sharp contrast to the Leela Kathak dancers—these students of Kathak master Urmila Nagar attack the floor with complex and powerful step sequences, rather like barefoot tap dancing. The percussive quality is matched by their crystal-sharp arms and intense focus.
Two Seattle institutions collaborate for their contribution to the program: Ewajo Dance Workshop and Pacific Northwest Ballet School seek common ground in a group they call Dance Collective, which combines African and European dance traditions. Break-dancers Circle of Fire (who organized the recent Lords of the Floor competition) exhibit a slightly different mix of influences, from popular dancing to capoeira, as they fly and spin. The Eritrean Youth Dance group completes this year's roster, with a performance drawn from its members' African heritage. Guest artist Abdel Salaam, director of Harlem's Forces of Nature company, returns to choreograph a new work using a mix of performers from the participating groups.
Like past "DANCE this . . ." performances, this summer's edition should just about take the roof off the Paramount, channeling the enthusiasm and energy of young dancers into a program that celebrates their unique place in the Seattle arts community.