Second annual HOT FEET dance concert seasoned with spicy African/jazz flavor

As the highlight of the Bates Dance Festival season, an international ensemble of dancers performs HOT FEET, an evening of American jazz, French- Canadian step, Afro-fusion and jazz tap July 31 at 8 p.m. in the Lewiston Middle School Auditorium, located on Central Avenue. Tickets for the performance are priced at $14 and $8 (for full-time students and seniors) and can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 207-786-6161. Following a sold-out show in 1997, ticket buyers are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets in advance.

The 1998 HOT FEET performance features some of the finest exponents of jazz, ethnic and percussive dance. This lively concert features works by award-winning South African dancer Vincent Mantsoe, acclaimed French step dancer Benoit Bourque of Montreal, jazz tapper and master of improvisation Herbin Van Cayseele and jazz master Danny Buraczeski. One of the country’s most eclectic and zany choreographers, Doug Elkins, also will make an appearance on stage. The concert will include live music by gifted festival musicians.

In an effort to develop new audiences for all forms of concert dance, the Bates Dance Festival will provide HOT FEET ticket subsidies for youths participating in the Youth Arts Program and to various social service agencies.

HOT FEET will offer audiences a lively demonstration of the linkage between traditional African and percussive dance forms, contemporary American jazz, improvisational tap, hip hop and post-modern dance. The performance highlights the relationship of these dance forms and their significance in African and American dance history.

Benoit Bourque is a musician and dancer who has been thrilling audiences for 25 years. Known as an expert step dancer, caller and bones player, Borque also plays guitar, accordion, recorder and mandolin. Performing first as a member of the famed ensemble Eritage, he later performed and taught extensively throughout the United States and Canada, made many appearances on television and radio and produced five recordings plus a cassette and book aimed at teaching French-Canadian step dancing. Borque has won prizes from the Moscow International Folk Dance Festival and Kolobrzeg Folk Festival in Poland. He currently tours and performs with Gaston Bernard and Simone LePage.

Danny Buraczeski, one of America’s greatest jazz choreographers, is joined by company member Joanne Horn to premiere a duet set to the music of Duke Ellington. Called “the country’s most sophisticated jazz maker” by The Village Voice, Buraczeski is a classic jazz dance stylist, whose company’s repertoire has been commissioned by presenters around the country. After a career on Broadway appearing in such musicals as Mame with Angela Lansbury and The Act with Liza Minelli, Buraczeski formed the original New York- based JAZZDANCE by Danny Buraczeski in 1979. Based in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul since 1993, the company has performed at leading concert halls and festivals in more than 30 states, in Europe and the Caribbean. JAZZDANCE is a regular guest at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and New York’s Joyce Theater. In addition to the complete repertory of JAZZDANCE, Buraczeski has created works for the Boston Ballet, Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Company and many repertory companies around the nation.

Choreographer Doug Elkins performs an excerpt from his signature work Patrooka Variation, a seamless blend of hip hop and modern dance vocabulary. One of the country’s most eclectic choreographers, Elkins combines diverse dance styles in works that offer hilarious comment on contemporary culture. He is the recipient of significant choreographic commissions from the National Performance Network, Dance Theater Workshop’s First Light program, Dance Magazine Foundation, Metropolitan Life/American Dance Festival and The Joyce Theater Foundation’s Fund for New Works. His work as an emerging choreographer has been honored by a 1997 New York Dance and Performance Award, a 1995 grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, a 1994 Creative Arts Award Medal in Dance from Brandeis University and Choreographer’s Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, 1990-94. The Doug Elkins Dance Company has performed extensively in the United States and Europe. Elkins recently collaborated with The Flying Karamazovs on the Broadway-bound production of “Room Service,” produced by A Contemporary Theater, A.C.T., of Seattle.

Soweto-born choreographer/performer Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe premieres his latest, award-wining solo, Mphenyane, about a man torn by cultural conflict who is losing touch with his past. Born in 1971, Mantsoe’s formative years were spent in the township during the height of the apartheid regime with little hope of a good education or career. Although he performed as a street dancer with a youth group, it was not until 1990 when he joined Moving Into Dance, as part of a scholarship program, that he received formal training as a dancer, choreographer and teacher. Since then he has performed and taught in South Africa and abroad and has been recognized as an outstanding dancer and choreographer receiving numerous awards. In 1995, his piece Gula Matari won first prize at the First Contemporary African Dance Competition in Angola, which included a grant for a Pan African Tour. He was the winner of the 1996 and 1998 Independent Choreographers Award at the Fifth Recontres Choreographiques Internationales des Bagnolet in France. In 1996, Mantsoe created Sasanka for Dance Theatre of Harlem which premiered at the Kennedy Center. This year he again was nominated for the FNB Vita Award as most outstanding male dancer for his new work “Mpheyane.” Mantsoe currently is the assistant artistic director and resident choreographer of the Moving Into Dance company.

In addition to its critically acclaimed mainstage performance series of 13 concerts, the Festival offers two intensive training programs, one for pre-professionals and one for younger dancers. For more information, or to request a brochure, call the Bates Dance Festival at 207-786-6381.

HOT FEET is sponsored by Androscoggin Savings Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maine, Cole Haan, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Mechanics Savings Bank, Northern Utilities, H.M. Payson and Peoples Heritage Bank.

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