By Carol Norris
In a time of hard knocks for many arts organizations, Contemporary Dance Theater director Jefferson James reports attendance is up and sponsorship strong for her guest artist series.
For the theater's 31st season, she will present five guest companies in addition to the local "Choreographers Without Companies" concert.
"I find these groups exciting and different - different from each other and in most cases different from other work being done in the field," she says about her 2003-04 season.
The most exciting part, she adds, "We're still here."
Oct. 3-4: Salia ni Seydou, a company from Burkina Faso, West Africa, working out of France, opens the season with "Figninto" (He Who Does Not See).
"It's a company of all male dancers. They call their work modern, but it's a loose narrative of a journey with ritual activities in traditional dress.
"The movement has a lot of elements of modern dance, including street dance - which came from Africa - and it's not what we've seen as traditional African dance," James reports.
"The visual images are stunning. I don't want to give anything away, but they use sand as a prop that is lit in a very dramatic way."
Nov. 21-22: Groundworks Dancetheater.
"I like to include an Ohio company and this Cleveland group's work is very disciplined," James says.
Classically trained but with a contemporary way of putting it all together, "The works are about being grounded like modern and effortless like ballet. It's very elegant."
Feb. 6-7: Sean Curran Company returns.
One of James' favorite groups, she says, "He's been getting really good press. He'll bring a new work and at nine or 10 dancers, one of the bigger groups to visit."
March 26-27: Joe Goode Performance Group also returns.
Cincinnati dancer Marc Morozumi dances with this San Francisco company.
They'll bring a new work, "Folk," which James has not seen yet. "The photographs are gorgeous - they look like pioneers and farmers - but nothing is quite what it seems with Joe," she says.
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