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Hoka Days Features Gift of Dance Event

The Arts Council’s annual Hoka Days celebration fills a month with arts and cultural experiences that tap into the talents of artists in Lafayette County. All performances are offered for free inviting the community to explore the range of artists and talents in our community.

Choreographer/Teacher Rachel Coleman.

This week’s theme is Gift of Dance, featuring a free performance featuring different dancers, styles and techniques for the entire family.

The Gift of Dance will be presented, Friday, Aug. 18 at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center with performances at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The performance features two acts created by two local choreographers: Choreographer/Director Kido Jimmyle Listenbee and Choreographer/Teacher Rachel Coleman.

Listenbee and her company of seasoned performers present the universal life journey of Homer’s Odyssey through ballet and clown-based styles ranging from exquisite beauty to grotesque comedy.

Coleman and her local students present the ancient North African/Egyptian dance style of Raks Sharqi as an eloquent form of fine art. Known in the West since the Chicago World Fair of 1893 as Bellydance,” this style reveals endless mysteries of the spiral while presenting new ones.

The two works are inspired by the choreographer’s experiences. Listenbee drew inspiration from working with the dancers and from a recent nine-month stay in San Francisco to study with Hiroko Tamano, the Japanese Butoh Master who used exaggerated body and face contortions to express deep feelings of joy and grief, often simultaneously.

Coleman drew from the literary inspiration of “Descent of Inanna/Ishtar.”

In creating the Gift of Dance, Listenbee and Coleman, wanted to create an experience that allowed the audience to see past the dance and enjoy the story beneath. Taking pleasure in the art, its performance, and taking a small journey with the dancers.

The gift of dance is open to all ages, with special cushion seats down front for children. Through the free performance, the dancers want the audience to experience and express feelings; laughing, crying, fun, inspiration, pain, pleasure, and amazement.

“I hope that audience members will report that it was all that,” said Listenbee.

The Gift of Dance is part of Hoka Days, a month-long celebration of the arts organized by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. The celebration funds free performances by local artists to encourage community members to explore new experiences. The Arts Council partners with arts and cultural organizations to present over 320 days of programs annually.

Reserve seats for Gift of Dance at www.oxfordarts.com.


Staff report

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