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New steps Folkloric expands repertoire with modern numbers

For the 2008 edition of Folkloric Production's annual "Mystic Motion: Dance From All Points Exotic" program, the company known best for its performance of multicultural dances from around the globe will go experimental. That is to say, in addition to the traditional folk dance works audiences have come to expect from the troupe, this weekend's performances in the intimate New Phoenix Theatre will feature a departure from that tradition.
Founded in 1992, the Buffalo-based dance company has been a mainstay in festivals throughout the state as well as providing instruction in multicultural dance at their own facility, at area schools and internationally.

This year's "Mystic Motion" production is a reflection of the troupe's growth over its 16-year history, said Cathy Skora, Folkloric's executive director. The 90-minute program's dozen works will expand upon Folkloric's traditional base, mixing in nontraditional takes on classic folk dances as well as presenting a few modern dance works.

"The theme of the concert reflects the meditative, mystical and ritualistic aspects of dance," Skora said. "Our focus is to highlight the richness of the movement and musical experience."

Part of Folkloric's annual Samba Festival, "Mystic Motion" will showcase several new works in addition to works from the company's existing repertory. It will begin with Skora's "It's Elemental," a ritualistic dance of slow extended movements meant as a welcoming for the audience.

Other works on the program include former company member Maria Pittman's "Sea Dreams," which will take on the effortless characteristics seaweed has moving in a sea current; "Passion Again," a modern dance solo set to Spanish music choreographed and performed by Folkloric assistant director Denise Matos reflecting the emotional gymnastics we put ourselves through when in love; and "Move Me," choreographed and performed by Skora, set to Zambra music (a mix of Arabic and Spanish gypsy music). The solo makes use of a fan and skirt to relay humans' yearning to find something that really moves them.

Also on the program will be the traditional works "Turkish Delight," a work meditating on the human condition that is choreographed and performed by Jan Morgan; Skora's "Village Celebration," an Oriental dance that makes use of finger cymbals; and Folkloric's signature dance work, "Samba Celebration," choreographed by Skora and set to close the program with a high-spirited celebration set to a pulsating South American music.

Audiences will also get an eyeful of a bevy of authentic, colorful costumes reflecting the many cultural regions the program's works are drawn from.

"We like to present a big juicy theatrical experience," Skora said. "Elaborate and flowing costuming is a big part of that."

While this year's edition of "Mystic Motion" represents somewhat of a departure for Folkloric Productions, the program still speaks to the company's underlying mission. "We see dance performance as a way of bringing people together," Skora said. "A way of getting them off their computers for a while to think about the human condition. In this time of turmoil in the world, our hope is that this meditative program can help people get back to a place where they can feel good again."

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PREVIEW

WHAT: Folkloric Productions' "Mystic Motion"

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday

WHERE: New Phoenix Theatre on the Park, 95 N. Johnson Park

TICKETS: $17 in advance, $20 at the door

INFO: 876-6291 or www.folkloric.org

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