Rhythmically Speaking Reaches a Decade of Dance

Vernacular dance at the Southern Theater this weekend

Two dancers back to back

PHOTO BYJILLIAN BELL

When you combine creative choreography, impressive skills, and the experience of artistic director Erinn Liebhard with the enthusiastic moves of local and national performers, you really can’t go wrong. This is Rhythmically Speaking.

The annual two-hour dance performance, going on 10 years, showcases works inspired by vernacular American dance. This type of dance evolved naturally and informally within communities, often in public places, such as bars and clubs. Rhythmically Speaking has grooved, moved, and chasséd into uncharted territory in Minnesota—being one of few (on the local and national levels) specifically dedicated to supporting new work in staged dance.

After an open-call opportunity for artists to upload video submissions, dancer and choreographer Liebhard, along with local dance luminaries Brian J. Evans and Zoe Sealy, selected 2018’s choreographers. This year, all of them are established, well-known professionals with extensive performance and choreographic experience: Gabriel Anderson and Laura Selle-Virtucio; Leila Awadallah; Melissa Clark; Brandi Coleman; Karla Grotting; Jolene Konkel; and Emma Marlar.

PHOTO BY BILL CAMERON

Rhythmically Speaking spans various social dance disciplines; the nonprofit company has presented jazz, tap, contemporary African, modern, various hip hop styles, and more. Each work features an energetic and eclectic ensemble of local dancers, this year including 44 performers—ranging from university students to seasoned professionals, business owners to yoga instructors, as well as the self-taught.

“We are fortunate to have built a space that interests excellent choreographers and dancers,” Liebhard says, “and brings in audiences to enjoy being in the moment with us.”

When: August 16, 7:30 p.m.; August 17, 7:30 p.m.; August 18, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Where: The Southern Theater, 1420 S. Washington Ave., Minneapolis

How much: $20 in advance, $24 at the door.

How long: Two hours (including intermission)

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