As transcendental and life-affirming as a lissome silhouette rippling across a stage can be, dance in the abstract could benefit from a little demystification -- like, say, a discourse on race relations, perhaps with the accompaniment of a little socially unacceptable comedy? Native Tongue, a series of new works curated by local choreographer Jacinta Vlach, dives headfirst into the ever-thorny topics of race, culture, and identity. Vlach headlines the show with the first-ever performance of her group, Liberation Dance Theater, and jettisons the neutral ground of conventional dance for more provocative terrain. Her piece, Abjection in America, draws attention to the inescapably offensive, yet always enlightening, proboscis of racial comedy, interspersing dance with clips from stand-up agitators like Richard Pryor and John Leguizamo. Instead of attempting to elicit laughs, however, the piece uncovers the agonizing wounds and uncomfortable realities that lurk behind the jokes, while examining racial profiling and the confounding melting pot of modern identity in the process. New York choreographers Nathan Trice and Adia Whitaker also present work.
Aug. 24-25, 8 p.m.