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Contemporary world dance whirls onto Alex stage

March 06, 2004

JOYCE RUDOLPH

A variety of dance and music styles influenced by cultures around the

world will mesh when the "Arab-esque" dance concert whirls its way

onto the Alex Theatre stage.

The theme combines contemporary world dance and progressive world

music from Europe, says artistic director and show producer Juliette

Arroyo.

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"It's not folkloric, you are mixing different styles," she said.

"In my pieces, I'm am mixing Arabic dance with jazz and dancers are

wearing Chinese costumes."

All of Arroyo's dance pieces have an Arabic music base with a jazz

influence, but all the music for her dances is from Europe and not

from the Middle East.

"Because each are different styles," she said.

Arroyo picked each of the more than 50 professional Southern

California dancers/ choreographers who are performing to ensure they

stayed within the theme.

An independent choreographer, Arroyo conceived the idea for the

eclectic dance concert because of the explosion of interest in world

music over the last three years.

The show features progressive world music from Europe that has

been composed in the last three years. Other pieces are original

compositions created specifically for these choreographers, and some

written just for this show.

"It is music that is also created in United States with a European

styling," she said.

Another choreographer in the show, Licia Perea, mixes modern dance

with flamenco and Middle Eastern music. Choreographer Charletta Fry

chooses to combine African with modern dance styles set to world

music. While it's not pure African music, it has African chanting,

Arroyo said. Different still is work by choreographer Anthony

Johnson, who combines ballet with magic.

The dance concert is unique, Arroyo said, because other shows

usually have one company dancing a line up of different pieces, but

this has more of a purpose: to promote world music and world dance in

Los Angeles. These are separate choreographers coming together and

sharing the stage with other choreographers whose styles are

different.

"A program like this allows dancers as artists to grow and explore

new styles and new ways, so we're not just rooted in our own

traditional styles," she said. "And for the public, it leaves a

lasting impression."

Arroyo, who lives in Highland Park, is a former Glendale resident

and works for the city of Glendale Historical Preservation

Department.

The concert is at 8 tonight. Tickets range from $15 to $50. For

reservations, call 243-2539. The Alex Theatre is at 216 N. Brand

Blvd., Glendale.

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