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‘Rhythmically Speaking’: Jazz perspectives from seven choreographers

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll say it again. Since Danny Buraczeski disbanded his nationally acclaimed company Jazzdance and moved to Texas (to teach and choreograph), the Twin Cities dance community hasn’t been the same. Many of his professional dancers are still performing here with other companies, and some of them are occasionally choreographing jazz dance.

Others, however, are stepping into the breach and producing evenings that demonstrate the legacy Buraczeski left here. This weekend, a collaboration of seven choreographers (all of them women) has created the showcase “Rhythmically Speaking.”

Some of them, like Karla Grotting, already have enjoyed long careers: She’s a founding member of the Flying Foot Forum, teaches jazz in the University of Minnesota’s dance program, and has made her own percussive-dance works for several years. Some are cutting up stages around town with their own unique style of tap dance, like Kaleena Miller. A former member of Buckets and Tap Shoes, and a founding member of Feet Don’t Fail Me Now, she’s a long, lean performer with a cool demeanor that belies her serious chops.

Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner started making her mark, moved to Arizona to teach and choreograph, and has returned, making a hot, sexy, Latin-inspired jazz work. Karis Sloss has been assembling her own jazz and modern-dance showcase, the Eclectic Edge Ensemble, which until “Rhythmically Speaking” was largely — dance wise — the only jazz game in town. Erinn Liebhard, Heather P. Westerlund and Jolene Konkel are also part of this weekend’s show.

Buraczeski was internationally renowned for his deep understanding of and passion for dance, and the intense musicality reflected in his choreography. “Rhythmically Speaking” promises to provide not only seven different perspectives on the jazz-dance idiom, but may also provide glimpses into a growing jazz-dance future for the Twin Cities.

“Rhythmically Speaking.” 8 p.m., Aug. 20-22; Bedlam Theatre, 1501 S. 6th St., West Bank, Minneapolis.

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