The title, “Sans Detour,” translates as not turning back, nonstop or direct, words that describe the two dance companies sharing this bill. Both approach dance with visions that speak directly to the heart, but at the same time can be unsparing and take no prisoners. Both ensembles are four years old and both are led by interracial husband-wife teams, but the similarities stop there. In their Baker Tarpaga Dance Project, Olivier Tarpaga and Esther Baker-Tarpaga blend West African dance (he’s from Burkina Faso) with contemporary dance forms. Earlier this summer, the couple drew critical praise at REDCAT’s NOW Festival for their exploration of immigration issues in a piece about the plight of impoverished Senegalese men who risk drowning in crammed boats to cross the Mediterranean and work illegally in Europe. The Tarpagas’ newest, Gnama Gnama Mana Mana Kono (Disorder Inside Order), considers the 1998 assassination of West African journalist Norbert Zongo, killed after writing exposés on corrupt government officials. The dancers include Shelly Wilcox, Josette Wiggans, Wilifred Souly and Laurel Fanya House.
By contrast, in SILK, Catch Me Bird’s C. Derrick Jones and Nehara Kalev elevate the reality of their fourth wedding anniversary into an aerial fantasy as the duo take to the air. Starting atop the amphitheater’s 60-foot stage towers, Jones and Kalev’s aerial choreography is aided by unfurling lengths of silk fabric in a terpsichorean renewal of their wedding vows. Many performers have made good use of this al fresco venue, but Catch Me Bird unquestionably takes the concept of site specific to new heights.

Fri., Sept. 5, 8:30 p.m., 2008

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