UNM's Department of Theatre and Dance presents "NOVA," featuring the choreography of the UNM dance faculty, Friday, Feb. 24-Sunday, March 4.

Assistant Professor Vladimir Conde Reche is artistic director of this concert, which features students in UNM's dance program. UNM welcomes guest artist Takehiro Ueyama to stage an excerpt from "SALARYMAN," his salute to Japan's resilient nature. Also featured on the program will be an excerpt from Martha Graham's "Dark Meadow," re-staged by former Martha Graham dancer Eric Newton and coached by UNM's Mary Anne Newhall.

Head of dance Donna Jewell choreographs two works, "The Butterfly" and "All In," a dance film. Reche explores physicality in different ways in his two new works, "Loss of the Absent" and "Thirst." The fire and passion of flamenco is showcased in "Alegrias," choreographed by Antonio Granjero and Eva Encinias Sandoval.

"SALARYMAN" portrays the life of the Japanese businessman. A review in Oberon's Grove described SALARYMAN as "a series of vignettes handsomely lit and powerfully danced, (depicting) the rat race of modern-day life. The inspiration may come from Japan but the images are universal." The piece blends reality and fantasy, juxtaposing the frenetic, high-octane will to succeed with the daydreams of a sweeter past, where remembrances, hopes, desires and fantasies are brought to life. The creation of the piece coincided with the deadly tsunami in Japan.

Ueyama was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan and moved to the United States in 1991 to study at the Juilliard School in New York. After eight years with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, he founded TAKE Dance.

"They who dance together" is an excerpt from Martha Graham's work "Dark Meadow," first performed in January 1946 to a commissioned score by Carlos Chavez. Martha Graham once described "Dark Meadow" as a "re-enactment of the mysteries which attend the eternal adventure of seeking." In this dance she created an extended meditation on the life force and the search for poetic truth, and it is a work full of sensual symbolism and Jungian archetypes. "They who dance together" is a choral comment at the culmination of the heroine's journey across the dark meadow of the soul and can be interpreted as a resolution of her search for self. The imagery is tender, lyrical, and full of sculptural embraces. The excerpt is being re-staged by special guest Newton, who was a dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Nederlands Dans Theater. He has been teaching the Graham technique to  UNM dance students.

"All In," a dance film for fourteen dancers, is a new work by Jewell. It begins with a poker game in an Airstream trailer, leading to various expressions of relationship and the search for individuality. In vintage cowboy wear, dancers use contemporary dance style to tell the abstract story of friends and romance, colorful vibrancy meshed with the underlying tension of the inter-connectivity of human emotion. The piece is set on the recently bulldozed lot of the Aztec Motel on Central Avenue in Albuquerque.

Elysia Pope is the soloist in Jewell's "The Butterfly." Structured on the romanticism and delicacy of Frederic Chopin's musical grasp of the ethereal, the piece is inspired by the lightness and determination of the butterfly.

"Alegrias" is a flamenco work choreographed by Granjero and Encinias Sandoval. Granjero was born in Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz) and began his studies of classical Spanish, classical ballet and flamenco when he was 10. A native of Spain, Granjero has toured Europe, dancing with flamenco companies Alhama and El Güito. As a soloist and choreographer with the María Benítez Company, he has performed in Santa Fe and New York. He performs as a guest artist with the Maria Serrano Company in Sevilla, the Esmeralda Enríquez Company in Canada, and with Susan di Palma in Minnesota. "The Alegrias" features guitarist Ricardo Anglada, and Encinias Sandoval, Cante.

Inspired by a poem of Clarice Lispector, Reche investigates subtlety in movement in "Loss of the Absent." He said, "This abstract work deals with the fact that individuality doesn't mean solitude, nevertheless solitude can reinforce the sense and power of community." The score is a combination of an excerpt by Peter I. Tchaikovsky, and nature sounds, edited by Reche. He also choreographed "Thirst," a high energy piece for four male dancers Aaron James Hooper, Esteban Garza, Avalon Jay and Louis Roccato, to the music of Tom Ze.

"NOVA" shows Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. in Rodey Theatre, UNM Center for the Arts. Ticket prices are $15 general admission, $12 for seniors and $10 for students and are available at UNM ticket offices located at the UNM Bookstore and the Pit or by calling (877) 664-8661 or (505) 925-5858.

Story by Kathleen Clawson