The Michigan Daily- Friday, January 12, 1990 --Page 9
Dancing days are here
Troupe draws on cosmos, Kings, and other things
BY KRISTIN PALM
ON the front of the dimly lit Performance Network
stage, dancers Whitley Setrakian and Tom Cocco stand
poised, looking intense as they rehearse their lines.
Wait. Dancers rehearsing their lines? Something
Amiss, maybe, but true as well.
Setrakian, the choreographer and co-founder of Ann
Arbor's People Dancing troupe, has a history of com-
bining text and dance in order to create unique scenes
which often present everyday situations in unexpected
9 ways. That tradition will continue this weekend as Peo-
ple Dancing brings New Works for a New Year to life.
However, Setrakian says, she is no longer able to claim
the integration of words into dance production. as her
"I liked using words with dance," she said. "Now,
unfortunately, it has become the fashionable thing to
do. It's not even remotely unusual."
Nonetheless, the text plays an important role in
New Works' "Rachel Trilogy" which uses humor,
* satire, song, acting, as well as fragmented and flowing
movements to depict scenes from the life of an ordinary
girl and, later in the piece, of her anti-matter. Setrakian
has definite ideas regarding the foundation of the latter
two segments of the trilogy, "Rachel Part Two - The
Saga Continues" and "Rachel Part Three - The Final
Chapter." She describes part two as "science fiction for
children" and part three as "bad science fiction writing
for adults." But the original concept for the trilogy, like
its subject, is less dramatic.
"I was sitting on a bus one day and I thought of the
*sentence, 'Rachel comes home too soon' and I thought
it would be neat to make a dance using that," she said,
adding that her productions are often influenced by dif-
ferent forms of literature.
"I read the New Yorker a lot. It's like an Anne
Beattie short story," she said of the trilogy. The manner
in which the segment is presented, using motions to il-
lustrate abstract thoughts in order to create a cohesive
whole, makes one wonder if Setrakian spends her spare
time writing poetry.
"Not if I can help it," she said.
The remainder of New Works draws from a wide
range of influences and a host of local talent as well.
Like "Rachel Trilogy," "Nutshell" involves direct talk-
ing but the dancers also interpret the words of the
speaker in American Sign Language.
"The Robe and the Crown" harkens back to Se-
trakian's childhood visits to Appalachia and features live
music by Ann Arbor musicians Sally Horvath, Dick
Siegel and Tracy Lee Kormany, who is best known as
the frontwoman of local band Tracy Lee and the
Leonards. The music of younger Ann Arborites, the
child duo the King Brothers, is incorporated into yet
Setrakian is vague when describing the impetus be-
hind such eclectic pieces. She says her inspiration is
derived "from the cosmos" but alludes to another, more
"I watched a lot of television growing up. That has
nothing to do with stifling creativity, I believe."
NEW WORKS FOR A NEW YEAR takes place tonight
and Saturday at 8 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the
Performance Network. Tickets are. $9, $7 for students
and seniors and can be purchased at the Michigan
Theater Box Office.
Continued from page 7
Britton, a woman who earns grocery
money by selling rabbits for pets or
meat, take your pick. She unflinch-
ingly skins a rabbit onscreen, adding
that she's saving up pelts to make a
Former GM worker and Deputy
Sheriff Fred Ross doesn't have to
worry much about job security, as
long as he keeps up with his busy
eviction schedule. On the several oc-
casions on which Ross is shown do-
ihg his job -, that is, literally
putting families and their posses-
sions out on the street --- Roger &
Me drops its hip, cynical tone and
turns graphically straightforward, an
approach marred only during the last
go-round, a Christmastime eviction
simplistically intercut with Roger
Smith's holiday address to GM
workers around the world.
So Roger & Me is finally com-
ing to Ann Arbor, giving a lot of
us, out-of-staters and in-staters alike,
talook at how the other half lives
right in our own
movie is great
backyard. And the
boot, careening along at a speedy
pace. As Moore put it, "I wanted
Roger & Me to play more like Pee
Wee's Big Adventure than Hotel
Terminus." He's accomplished that,
and a lot more.
ROGER & ME is playing at Show-
Dancer/choreographer Whitley Setrakian promotes freedom of thought, as well as freedom of movement,
addressing such diverse topics as art and Appalachia, and using a variety of musical resources, including Bach
and the Beastie Boys.
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