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BEST CHOREOGRAPHER Minneapolis 2005 - Judith Howard

A silent apparition, a punk rock goddess, a complex character from Shakespeare: Judith Howard summoned all of these presences in "Ophelia," a solo that fearlessly celebrated all aspects of the feminine psyche--and the unique ability to gracefully doff many, many petticoats in a postmodern nod to Salome. In "Suite Goodbye," Howard played the vamp. Clad in black lingerie and brandishing a remote control, she engaged in a little dirty dancing with a toy car before clearing the stage for a maelstrom of roiling, grappling female bodies. Eventually, the dancers found their footing and cut loose for some laid-back line dancing set to Lucinda Williams's sensual growl. With these two brief but memory-searing works, Howard proved that even though she was the recipient of the "Stickin' With It" award at the 2005 Best Feet Forward Festival for her role as a veteran choreographer, her ideas remain fresh, unpretentious, and a little bit rude. Her unflappable sensibility seems more confident and mature than ever. The dance world needs rebels like Howard to remind us that a body and mind in harmony can inspire a beautiful sort of performance anarchy.

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