'Call Back the Sun'

Winter's longest night brings the promise of spring, which Dancing People Company celebrates with its sixth annual solstice performance.

"Call Back the Sun" is a modern-dance interpretation of the ritual of the season, with new choreography by DPC's Artistic Director Robin Stiehm.

Company dancers — Will Cooper, Veronica DeWitt, Erin Drummond, Brianna Rae Johnson and Alonzo Moore — will be joined this year by percussionist Kelvin Underwood, aerialists Drew McDermott and Shane Carnahan, electric guitarist Matt Grubb of local rock band Lost Maven, Seraphim Dance Theatre of Ashland and drum, cello and vocal group Trine.

Shows are set for 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 17-18, at the Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St. Each show will be followed by open community dance with spins by DJ Kenny B.

The shows' choreography evokes images of the darkness of winter, novelty of spring and intensity of summer.

Highlights include "Insipient Spring," a piece performed by the company's dancers and accompanied by Trine, conveying thoughts of spring thaws and tendrils of new, green growth.

A group made up of people of all ages from the Ashland community and students from Crater High School's Renaissance Academy, directed by Moore, will present a dance-theater piece that explores ancient to contemporary solstice practices. McDermott, DeWitt and Carnahan will perform a piece that integrates aerial silks with traditional dance.

Members of performance-art troupe Seraphim, using bamboo fans and colorful silks as props, move in and out of the action, propelling the drama forward.

"Grass Fire," a new piece composed by Underwood and choreographed by Stiehm, will conclude the show. Representing the return of summer, it is fiery and energetic.

The celebrations will reach their peaks when performers invite audiences onto the dance floor for the community dances.

Tickets cost $5 for Saturday's 2 p.m. preview performance. All other tickets cost $15, $10 for ages 11 and younger. Tickets are available at The Music Coop in Ashland, www.dancingpeople.com or at the door. Call 541-488-9683.

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