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FEBRUARY 27 & 28
The first season of the Kennedy Center’s wildly ambitious five-year retrospective of modern dance has so far emerged as a pleasant surprise. The producers of “America Dancing” have said no to gimmicks, no to hype, and no to high-maintenance art-stars. The result is a series with integrity, not the cynical creation of an overzealous marketing department in search of a festival. Instead, “America Dancing” offers a national showcase for critically acclaimed but low-profile troupes dedicated to the spirit of choreographers long dead, from Isadora Duncan to Doris Humphrey. On Feb. 27 and 28, for instance, the series will celebrate Humphrey’s centennial with the work of Dance Consort: Mezzacappa/Gabrian. Don’t let the unwieldy name put you off: Carol Mezzacappa and Craig Gabrian have earned kudos for breathing new life into the rarely performed work of pioneer Humphrey and her longtime collaborator, Charles Weidman. Humphrey and Weidman were known as humanists who explored themes as dense and disturbing as mob violence (Lynchtown) and as lighthearted as the story of a department-store floorwalker besieged by female shoppers (Bargain Counter—both works will be performed by Dance Consort). Dance is a fragile, temporal medium, and a piece often dies with its creator. By putting on this series in its 25th-anniversary season, The Kennedy Center is making a case for its own significance while helping to keep the spirit of early modern dance alive. At 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. $21. (202) 467-4600. CP