FRIDAY TO SUNDAY

My exposure to professional dance has been embarrassingly limited: Cringing during a friend’s painful interpretive dance piece titled “Forlorn Kitten” and fighting back nausea at a local nightclub’s “Back That Ass Up” contest just about cover the extent of my dance knowledge. Fortunately, the three locally based choreographers/dancers (pictured) featured in the Kennedy Center’s Local Dance Commissioning Project embody traits that even I can appreciate: social responsibility, ancient mysticism, and delightful eccentricity. Friday’s featured artist, Deborah Riley, uses dance as a tool for change. Her all-female dance company deals with issues important to women through both their performances and community outreach: Riley conducts dance workshops for abused, formerly homeless, and mentally ill women. Nilimma Devi mixes contemporary dance with Kuchipudi, a dance style that emerged in 17th-century India for use in plays called “dance-dramas.” Devi will also utilize martial arts and hatha yoga positions in her Sunday performance. Ed Tyler is a master of the unconventional: His Saturday-evening show includes the voyeuristic incorporation of miniblinds, behind which dancers will perform, opening and closing the slats at their discretion to reveal different portions of their bodies. The performances are at 6 p.m. Friday, July 20, to Sunday, July 22, in the Kennedy Center’s Grand Foyer. Free. (202) 467-4600. (Sarah Godfrey)