Famous dance troupe to visit Juneau

Alter to teach two master classes in dance while in town

Posted: Thursday, May 05, 2005

Juneau's Kathryn Alter had to prepare herself for a different kind of physical movement when she joined New York City's world-famous Limon Dance Co. in 2003. The company, and its late founder, are known for emphasizing total movement of the body and works with large groups of dancers.

"It's based on fall and recovery on a really simple level, and the physical experience of how the body responds to gravity," Alter said. "A lot of understanding the technique is making a commitment. No one can tell you how these physical experiences are going to feel, and you can only learn by experimenting and understanding that every time you do something, it's going to be different."

Alter will be with the company when it performs at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Juneau-Douglas High School auditorium. Tickets are available at Hearthside Books and the door. This is the company's first trip to Southeast Alaska, but it was in Anchorage a few years ago.

"I think everyone is really curious, and also eager to get out of New York and feel a little more nature," Alter said. "The space in the auditorium is a little small for us, and we're not able to do more of the large Limon works because of that. But we are doing one full company piece, and some smaller chamber pieces."

While she's in town, Alter will teach two master classes, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, May 12-13, at Juneau Dance Unlimited, inside the Scottish Rite Temple at 206 Fourth St.

The two classes are appropriate for intermediate level students and up and cost $15 for one class, or $25 for two.

The night will begin with Jiri Kilian's "Evening Songs," a smaller chamber work premiered by the Netherlands Dance Theatre on Sept. 9, 1987. Alter is next with her solo, "Circle of the Root and Circle of the Crown," choreographed by company member Jonathan Riedel and set to Chopin's "Nocturne."

Donald McKayle's "Angelitos Negros," a solo by Roxane D'Orleans Juste, and Lar Lubovitch's "Concerto Six Twenty-Two," a three-part modern piece, will precede the intermission.

After the break, the company will perform with Limon's "The Moor's Pavane (Variations on the theme of Othello)," which premiered on Aug. 17, 1949 during the American Dance Festival at Connecticut College. The piece tells the story of the Moor, his wife, Desdemona, and the treacherous Iago from Shakespeare's "Othello."

"One of the cool things about the company is that we do the work of Jose Limon, but the other half of the work is commissioned by choreographers that are still living," Alter said. "It's really a great variety of different styles and pieces."

Directed by Carla Maxwell, the Limon company will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2006 and the 100th anniversary of Limon's birth in 2008.

• Korry Keeker can be reached at korry.keeker@juneauempire.com.

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