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March 04, 1988 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-03-04

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily-Friday, March 4, 1988
Wellspring illustrates

By Juliet James
As part of the well-rounded curriculum offered by
the School of Music, the University Dance department
will host two performances of Slow Boat by the
Wellspring Dance Collaborative this weekend. Based in
~Kylamazoo, Wellspring is a five member touring dance
company devoted to the advancement of modern dance
and the harmonization of various art forms.
Integrating elements of ancient, classical, and mod-
em dance, Wellspring Dance Collaborative seeks to il-
lustrate new aspects of choreography. Through the co-
6perative efforts of local poets, musicians, and visual
artists, their presentations are marked by lavish sets,
props, and costumes. Frequent literary allusions and
lve music engage audiences and add to the thought-
povoking productions.
Now in its seventh professional season, Wellspring
'Dance Collaborative's Slow Boat promises to be an

exuberant showcase of several new choreographic
works. The members of Wellspring endeavor to "create
major works that spark the intellect, stimulate the
imagination, and satisfy the eye," and those who attend
the performances can see an artistically comprehensive
company dedicated to the coordination of strong visual
imagery and flawless dance technique.
Wellspring Dance Collaborative was founded in
1981 under the artistic direction of Cori Terry. She
performed with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company of
New York City for six years. As a member of this es-
teemed company, Terry traveled extensively, teaching
and performing in major cities and universities
throughout the United States and Europe. In 1980, she
moved to Kalamazoo to join the faculty of Western
Michigan University as an artist-in-residence. Subse-
quently, she founded the company near the end of the
academic year.
Gary Schlis, a founder and the only male member of

new aspects
the troupe, acts as a teacher, performer, and choreogra-
pher with Wellspring. He graduated from Michigan y
State University with a degree in English Literature and th
a minor in Dance. In addition, he founded and serves as at
director of Coyote Productions, a dance and musical s-
theatre company that performs for both adults and chil- at
dren.

Folk's 'Near'superstar maintains roots

By Timothy Huet
If folk music had "superstars,"
Holly Near would be one of them.
So it is rare for Near to perform in
a club venue. But she will be doing
just that - twice - tonight at the
Ark. This is an especial treat for
Ann Arbor as Near was here
recently headlining the local folk
festival.
But if folk music had
"superstars," it wouldn't be folk
music. Near assumes none of the
celestial remoteness which is
associated with superstars. Her
music and her life are oriented
toward "common" people. Her
songs give voice to the concerns,
fears, and aspirations of those who
normally go unheard - and the
message of Near's voice is
frequently translated into sign
language during her shows.
One of the reasons Near cannot
often sing in the more personal
confines of a club is that many of
her performances are for the benefit
of political causes. Such concerts
are geared toward a larger audience
and suited to open-air settings. The
Capitol Building windows have
more than once felt the vibration of
Near's rally "cry."
Near lends her voice most often
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to the causes of women and gay
liberation. For her
accomplishments in these areas and
others, Near was recently named
"Woman of the Year" by Ms.
Magazine. Near's other areas of
accomplishments include poetry,
college lecturing, and acting. She
has also appeared in the fi I m
version of Slaughterhouse Five and
the Broadway production of Hair.
She has recently been touring
with Ronnie Gilbert, formerly of
the Weavers, another woman with a
long history of political activism
through song and deed. Near and
Gilbert had earlier teamed with Arlo
Guthrie and Pete Seeger to form the
folk "super-group" H.A.R.P. Her
tours have taken her to Europe,
Australia, the Caribbean, the
Pacific, and Latin America.
This internationalism is reflected
in her music. "Hay Una Mujer

Desaparecida," a lament for the
"disappeared" of Latin America is a
frequent inclusion in Near's
program. Another moving song is
"Sing to Me the Dream" which she
composed with exiled Chilean
composer Jorge Coulon.
But Near's songs should not be
mistaken for mournful dirges. Her
{ compositions are celebrations of the
human spirit's courage under
dehumanizing conditions. In a
recent interview with the Daily,
Near explained, "A good political
song is not meant to put people to
sleep or to bore them. It's meant to
interest and excite them about their
potential. So when I write political
songs that are putting people to
sleep, you can bet I don't ever sing
them again. The songs that are
lasting ones are the ones that really
touch people ... the most important
thing to me about a live concert is

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