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RIRIE-WOODBURY OPENS SEASON WITH PIZAZZ

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The Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, just returned from appearances in London, East Berlin and Ireland, will take to the Capitol Theater stage for its season-opening fall program, on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27 and 28. Curtain will be at 8 p.m., and tickets ranging from $10-$25 are on sale at the theater box office.

The fall program will feature two premiere works by Claudia Melrose, and a guest appearance by Greg Lizenbery, a University of Utah graduate, former dancer with the Repertory Dance Theatre, and co-founder of the Bill Evans Dance Company.Claudia Melrose was choreographer-in-residence with the Ririe-Woodbury Company during the past summer for the group's Move It workshop at Snowbird. A former dancer with the Alwin Nikolais company, she has freelanced, run her own company, and is now a teacher at the University of Wisconsin.

Her choreography, "Night Flight," suggests both the risk and the freedom of flight, said Joan Woodbury. "It's a driving work that evokes birdlike images, with a strange, sometimes cacophonic score by Robert Ashley and Richard Maxfield."

From Melrose also comes "Oh, Coffee Never Tasted So Good." Using an aria from J.S. Bach's Coffee Cantata for music, this little spoof takes a contrapuntal approach to movement, and an "autobiographical" look at coffee. "Claudia loves coffee, yet she knows its harmful effects, and her dance centers around what coffee can do to you," said Woodbury.

Greg Lizenbery returns to Utah with two solo dances from his widely acclaimed "Men Dancing," a solo concert demonstrating the achievement of several legendary male choreographers.

The first, "Strange Hero," "captures the post-war, anti-hero cool, evoking the jazzy feel and style of a film-noir gangster," said one critic. Choreography is by Daniel Nagrin, with music by Stan Kenton and Pete Rugolo. "I Love You Dearly" by the inventive and popular Mark Morris, is a dance in three sections, coupling traditional folk music with modern dance in Morris's inimitable antic style.

After leaving Utah in 1975, Lizenbery co-founded the Bill Evans Dance Company, and was co-director until 1981. He worked as a master teacher of the National Endowment for the Arts' artists in education program 1976-1982, and in 1982 received certification in Laban Movement Analysis. He is in demand nationwide as a master teacher, because of his unique application of LMA to performing techniques. He has taught for the Jose Limon studio in New York, and numerous universities throughout the country.

His choreographies have been performed by many U.S. companies, and he has been guest artist with such companies as the Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers, the Cliff Keuter Company, NewDance, Tandy Beal Company, and Voice/Dance with Bobby McFerrin.

In 1987 Lizenbery was invited to become a permanent member of the Distinguished Artist Forum for the 19-campus system of the California State University. And in 1989, he accepted an appointment as a professor of theater arts at U. Cal Santa Cruz.

Also on the program are works from the company's standard repertory. Among these is "A Woman's Influence" by Susan McLain Smith, a former member of the Martha Graham Dance Company now on the faculty at the U. In this dance in three sections, McLain Smith explores a woman's influence on a man as mother, lover and business associate. Music is by David Byrne and Brian Eno.

Completing the program is "Encircled Embrace" by Loa Clawson, a progression of sinuous duets and ensembles that shows relationships between male and female, and skillfully fuses dance with the visual arts. Clawson, a faculty member at the U. and longtime artistic director of the Performing Danscompany, found inspiration for this dance from the paintings of Klimpt, Burns-Jones, Tooker, Culner and Chirco.

Following Friday's concert, the Friends of Ririe-Woodbury will entertain at their traditional backstage party. Company members will join the guests for fun and food, with tidbits from fine Salt Lake restaurants and dancing until midnight. Backstage party tickets at $15, or $10 for season subscribers, may be purchased along with concert tickets.