Not 'The Nutcracker'

AS AN ANTIDOTE to this weekend's tidal wave of ballet tulle, NEW ARTiculations dance troupe sponsors a modern dance concert called Emerging Choreographers.

NEW ART crystallized several years ago when a trio of dancer/choreographers decided there weren't enough local opportunities for young up-and-comers to perform their own work. Tammy Rosen, Leigh Ann Rangel and Jennifer Pollock all had links to the older modern dance troupes in town, particularly Orts Theatre of Dance and Tenth Street Danceworks, but they were ready to strike out on their own. They've gone on to stage several concerts of their own dances, and last year started an annual tradition of inviting other new choreographers to present as well.

On this year's program are Elizabeth Breck, who contributed a long piece at the Zenith showcase in October, Kathy Halstead, the new ZUZI! Move It Dance Lab (which is putting on its own show later in the month), Dance Matrix of Bisbee and Alexandra Beller. Students from the UA, Pima College and Rincon/University High, where NEW ART teaches workshops, will also participate. Not leaving themselves out, the NEW ART dancers and choreographers will also take to the stage.

The shows are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, December 3 and 4, in the theatre at the Historic Y at the corner of University Place and Fifth Avenue, former home of Orts and Millennium Theatre Co. and the new home of the ZUZI! Move It Dance Lab. Tickets are $5 at the door. For more information call 882-0318.

Riverdance is the other non-Nutcracker option. The popular international Irish traveling show is lodged at UA Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd., for a whole week, and there's still time to catch it this weekend at 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, December 2 through 5. Riverdance is loosely based on the austere art form of Irish step dancing, which still attracts young people to competitions in town and country all over Ireland. Step dancing has been said to mirror the Irish national character: the furiously stomping leg movements standing in for the wild intensity seen in its language, poetry and music, and the rigid upper body reflecting the puritanism and Jansenist Catholicism that sent writers like James Joyce packing.

You won't see much austerity in this show-bizzy evolution of a folk form, but you'll undoubtedly see some dazzling energy displayed by the young dancers assembled by Kevin McCormack. Multicultural allusions incorporated into the show include flamenco, African-American tap, Russian folk and ballet. Tickets range form $46 to $56. For more information call 621-3341.

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