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Dance Times Three 

Two Left Feet, Sole Sisters and James Luna

This is it. The ultimate group show, without allegiance to any school of dance or aesthetic. This is the day you get to see it all: young and old, experienced and up-and-coming, classical and modern. The Two Left Feet Dance Project gives dancers from all walks a chance to show their stuff. Choreographers rent their own rehearsal space, but there is no fee to be in this concert produced by TLFDP Director Lindsay Bond and the Ink People.

This season's participants include HSU students and dancers from different studios, both adults and teens. With 13 year olds Harmony Sorter and Jada Owens dancing a jazz piece choreographed by Sorter's mother, Heather, there are at least 40 years between the oldest and the youngest performer in the show. Among the artists presenting work is Erin Fernandez, premiering Constellations, performed by five dancers on pointe: Julie Ryman, Kelly Gordon, Delia Bense-Kang, Morgan Van Gemert and Lindsay Bond of Trillium Dance Ensemble. Ryman also choreographed a dance in the program.

Man-about-town Brett Finta has been seen hoofing it in musicals at Ferndale Rep and dancing in the work of local choreographers and ballet companies. It will be interesting to see him performing in his own work, a solo inspired by Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance form.

Watch for Gina Bondi, a luscious local dancer who has been away from the stage raising a baby, in Carrie Maschmeier's It's Natural to be Afraid. This is when it gets good, a performer who rocked it in her 20s dancing well into her 30s, after motherhood no less. The possibilities make one swoon.

Dance is often an art form relegated to youth, but Humboldt is full of grown-up dance artists. We can look forward to the physically articulate -- and grown-up -- work of Bonnie Hossack in She is me, a solo set on Sara Mosser comprised of images of harried life in all its disjointed mayhem, with haunting music by The Sixteen.

Full disclosure, I am coming out of a long hiatus to present work here, too. My piece, Rubberboot Dance, has a gaggle of young women from the Dancer's Studio and modern dancer Beth Shipley in a modern suite set to the music of The Gipsy Kings, The Be Good Tanyas and Eminem (what was I thinking?). Hope to see you there.

The Two Left Feet Dance Project concert is on Saturday April 30 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday May 1 at 2 p.m. at Redwood Raks in the Old Creamery Building, 9th and K streets, Arcata. Tickets are $10, students/seniors $7, available at the door or in advance at Threadbare Dancewear in Arcata.

Also on Saturday night, just around the corner in the Old Creamery Building, the world-class tap duo Sole Sisters will be gracing the floor of the Arcata Playhouse. Melinda Sullivan and Sarah Reich are childhood friends from Los Angeles with impressive professional resumes. Fans of television's So You Think You Can Dance will recognize Sullivan as the darkhorse tapper who made it to the finals this past season.

Reich, who spent her childhood summers visiting her grandparents in Arcata, teaches tap workshops all over the world. Dancer Magazine describes her as "a small package of dynamite talent [who] explodes wherever she dances." Checking them out on YouTube, you can see why: These girls are technically astute and musically emotive.

**Sole Sisters perform Saturday April 30 at 8 p.m. at the Arcata Playhouse, 1251 9th St. 822-1575. Admission is $15. They also are holding a tap workshop the morning of the show at No Limits Tap & Jazz Studio, 1093 10th St., Arcata. Info: 825-0922.

Native Stories: Basically Factual is not exclusively a dance piece, but you can expect variations on dance-as-ceremony when renowned performance artist James Luna performs Friday night at HSU in connection with an exhibit in HSU's new Native American Arts Gallery, Sing Me Your Story, Dance Me Home: Art and Poetry from Native California.

Luna combines monologue and conceptual performance pieces from his vast repertoire with new stories to better familiarize the audience with his people, the Pooyukitchum (LuiseƱo), whose territory encompassed North County San Diego.

Luna constructed one section of Native Stories, "We Become Them," around some very basic concepts of Native American ceremony. An exercise in the spiritual, physical and mystical act of Indian dance and ritual, he took the title from a lecture by an Indian elder who explained that in his form of Indian characterization of animals he did not try to act like one but became one.

A native Californian, Luna has lived on the La Jolla Indian Reservation since 1975. In 2007 he was awarded a Bessie, dance's equivalent to Broadway's Tony award, by Dance Theater Workshop in New York City.

In an artist statement Luna explains, "It is my feeling that art work in the media of performance and installation offers an opportunity like no other for Indian people to express themselves in traditional art forms of ceremony, dance, oral tradition and contemporary thought without compromise."

Luna's work is timely and timeless, drawing on the audience's energy. As he told Smithsonian Magazine, "I involve the audience. People give you control of their imagination. I can have them outraged one moment and crying the next. That's the power the audience gives you. It's knowing that and knowing how to use it effectively."

James Luna tells and dances Native Stories: Basically Factual on Friday April 29 at 8 p.m. in HSU's Gist Hall Theater. Free admission; doors at 7:30 p.m. For information on the rest of Sing Me Your Story, Dance Me Home contact the gallery office at 826-5814 or HSU's Center for Indian Community Development at 826-3711.

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About The Author

Stephanie Silvia

Stephanie Silva directed her own modern dance company in New York City and is a student of American poet Diane di Prima. She teaches movement and writing.

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