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O’Shaughnessy dance season to open with commissioned works by four choreographers

The O’Shaughnessy will open its new dance season, titled “Body Enlightened,” this weekend with a showcase of commissioned works by mostly up-and-company performer/choreographers.

Perhaps the most accomplished of the four dancemakers in “Snapshots: Reflections of Women,” is Jennifer Ilse, co-founder and -director of the dance/theater phenom, Off Leash Area. Ilse is a modern dancer capable of relaying, and evoking, tremendous emotion through the simplest of gestures and a judicious (at times, magical) use of stagecraft. And yet, in her work, Isles routinely tackles difficult topics that resonate with political, cultural and aesthetic concerns.

Her solo, “Expedition of Coat (And Me),” explores life growing up in small Midwestern town, and how she’s negotiated the friction between tradition and the need to compose a life of her own.

Nicolas Lincoln, a dancer with James Sewell Ballet, has created a work inspired by his relationships with women, titled “Jane.”

Maia Maiden is fast becoming a force in the local hip-hop scene. Her work, “gangED,” explores how gangs of women can build strength and love, identity and community.

Denise Armstead, who performed with Zenon Dance Company for decades and is an accomplished equestrian, uses interspecies communication between humans and horses as a metaphor for two duets that delve into male-female relationships.

“Snapshots: Reflections of Women,” 8 p.m., Friday-Saturday. The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine, St. Paul Tickets $10-$20. 651-690-6700.

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