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Third-Degree Turns

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NOW THAT THE heat of June is upon the town, ordinary Tucsonans can barely move their limbs. But the pros at Orts Theatre of Dance are out to prove that not even sizzling temperatures can deter them. Limbered up by their Sonoran Summer Dance Workshop, Orts dancers and friends offer up an evening of Improv in the Baked Apple.

"We're doing it for fun," says Chuck Koesters, associate director of the modern dance company. "It's hot and it's something to lighten up the inferno."

The Saturday evening show in the Ortspace has a loose structure. On the agenda are dance, poetry and theatre, punctuated by dulcimer music played by Koesters. The performers are lined up: they include Orts artistic director Annie Bunker and assorted Orts dancers, freelance choreographer and dancer Kevin Schroder, dancer Katherine Harts, and theatre performers Paul Fisher and Bradley Pattison. What the audience will be seeing is as yet unknown.

"We don't know exactly what the people are going to do," Koesters explains. "We're going to see what happens. It could be amazing."

Bunker and crew, for instance, will cavort with leaves, bones, clay and mud, and may even impinge on the territory of Karen Finley, the notorious chocolate-smeared performance artist. "They're going to be smearing the clay slip all over themselves," Koesters advises. A trapeze is also included.

Schroder, a fine dancer most often seen in Tucson with 10th Street Danceworks, will be doing a piece "that may involve the smoking of cigarettes." His collaboration with Orts here may presage future joint projects next winter, Koesters says. Harts, who recently danced in a Zenith Dance Collaborative concert, injects a spiritual component into her works. Fisher has worked with Orts in the past, and this summer he's teaching theatre in the Sonoran Summer Workshop. He and Pattison will do dramatic improv, with audience participation.

Koesters himself, who for years has composed electronic music and played it at Orts concerts, returns to the mountain dulcimer, a simple acoustic instrument "that first got me playing music 20 years ago." The dulcimer tunes will appear in the intervals between sets.





Improv in the Baked Apple, a performance by Orts Theatre of Dance and friends, begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 17, at the Orstpace, 121 E. Seventh St., at the corner of Seventh Street and Seventh Avenue. Admission is $5; tickets are available at the door or by e-mail at orts@orts.org. For more information, call 624-3799.

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