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Here comes the sun

Duende Dance Theater sees light after Sept. 11

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The ripple effect of Sept. 11 is likely to be felt in the arts for years to come. Artists have attempted to process their feelings of grief and outrage in everything from sculpture to comic books. Now, Atlanta's year-old Duende Dance Theater is approaching the healing process through a multimedia performance that incorporates modern dance, film and live music.

Amanda Exley Lower, Duende's artistic director, says Set to Rise came together immediately after the events of 9-11, when she and her dancers began to channel the emotions they were coping with. "I chose the imagery of the sun, its setting and then coming again to rise," she says. "It deals with loss, grief and also ways of finding joy."

Set to Rise features 20 dancers, including Lower, performing with video and live music accompaniment. Local gospel singer Vicki D. also plays piano and debuts three original songs. The 75-minute show takes the form of a dream sequence. Lower, the main choreographer, dances the central role.

Before September, she had intended for the second Atlanta performance of Duende (a Spanish word meaning "spirit") to be a collection of "big, fun dances," but Lower says Set to Rise has been a nurturing experience for her and her dancers.

"We've had a wonderful time creating it," she says. "It's been very therapeutic."

Duende Dance Theater performs Set to Rise March 8-9 at 8 p.m. at the Conant Center for the Performing Arts at Oglethorpe University, 4484 Peachtree Road. $15. 404-377-2534.

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