Arts and Culture / Magazine Feature

‘Underground’ dance performance poses political questions

The Newman Center Presents series will host the David Dorfman Dance Company for a performance of the politically charged piece, underground, on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m.

Dorfman created underground after watching a documentary about the Weathermen, an organization also known as the Weather Underground. Founded in 1969 as an offshoot of Students for a Democratic Society, the Weathermen embraced militancy rather than non-violence. The group bombed several government buildings in protest of the government’s actions at home and abroad.

Underground premiered in June 2006 at the American Dance Festival and examines the boundary between activism and terrorism, posing the questions: Does what you do make a difference? In a violent world, can you fight for peace?

Dorfman — who was 13 years old in October 1969 when the Weathermen staged a series of Chicago demonstrations known as the “Days of Rage”– also wanted to examine how different generations respond to society’s problems.

The performance, however, offers no easy solutions.

“Everyone in the piece is left to find their way in that question of how they as individuals can be involved in their society and how far they should go in their activities and activism,” says Stephen Seifert, executive director of the Newman Center.

Seifert says underground is “not praising terrorism but not praising apathy either.”

In addition to members of Dorfman’s company, dancers from the surrounding community will participate in Saturday’s performance.

Sheila Schroeder, an assistant professor of mass communications and expert on the 1960s, will give a “Behind the Curtain” lecture at 6:30 p.m. After the performance, audience members can participate in a discussion of the work’s themes during a talkback with Dorfman.

Tickets for the event, on sale now, are $52 for orchestra and parterre, $38 for mezzanine and $28 for balcony; ticket prices include parking.

Tickets can be purchased through Newman Center, Ritchie Center and Ticketmaster box offices. For more information, call the Newman Center at 303-871-7720.

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