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'Passion' performance provides variety

The performers of “Passion: A Salon of Music, Dance, Theatre and Cabaret” at The ArtsCenter are ready to offer audiences a night of variety and fun and get them dancing by the end of the show.

At least nine people and groups will perform in the show.

“The theme of the event is passion and whatever it might mean for the characters and different artists,” said Anita Woodley, one of the hosts for the evening who will be in character as the 100-year-old Grandma from her solo show “Mama Juggs.” “Whatever your passion is, this is going to be the pot where all the passion is collected, and the passion is the chunks in the soup.”

Woodley said the Grandma character is the embodiment of her great-grandmother.

“In the show, I’ll be wearing some of her clothing, so it’s like she really does come alive,” Woodley said. “The reason I am so interested in portraying her is because of the lessons and life that she shared. She was like the person that helped everybody take their guard down, and because this is such a fun event, and you have all these wonderful performers coming together to have a big dance together, what better than a little old lady to make that happen.”

Woodley will be co-hosting with performer Beverly Fields Burnette, who will be in character as Zora Neale Hurston.

Dueling poets Anna Weaver and Ben Molini will explore the passion behind the aftermath of relationships in the spoken-word poem that they wrote together.

“The poem we’re doing isn’t the lead-up into a relationship, and it’s not the happening of a romantic, sexy or passionate relationship — it’s more what happens afterwards,” Weaver said. “The dueling aspect comes out of the two characters. There’s a bit of a backstory that isn’t particularly well-explained, and they both have a perspective on it. So I guess the winner is decided in the minds of the audience.”

Molini said the two poets wanted to make it different from the typical love story.

“When we wrote this, it wasn’t a clear-cut lost love sort of thing — it’s not an unrequited type of scenario,” he said.

“It’s not any of the normal stories you hear. It is two characters who are kind of commenting on some type of shared experience. It’s sort of dark and cloudy but a little bit just sort of sardonic.”

Modern dancer Diego Schoch will be performing with tango dancer Pamela Taylor in a duet that fuses together both of their unique dance styles.

“It’s inspired by some of Pamela’s tango abilities integrated with some of my classical, modern sensibilities,” he said. “It’s a modern dance duet with a tango feel to it.”

Schoch said he is excited about the show because it gives him the opportunity to interact with other artists in the community, and it gives the audience a little “buffet” of entertainment.

“There are no previews, so they’re going to have to go with the ride,” he said. “It’s thrilling; we offer something for everyone. I encourage people to come with an open mind and be ready to get up and dance at the end of the show.”

The show will also feature the upbeat Nueva Latina sounds of Ed Stephenson and the Paco Band, songs by Lori Mahl and a performance by dancer Sarah Shelton.

“The lineup is a mixture of artists and fun ideas and personalities. It’s the likes of which I’ve never seen in a show myself before,” Weaver said. “The mood shifts. There’s definitely a lot of fun. There’s a lot of humor, certainly some sexy music and sexy dancing.”

Woodley encouraged everyone to come out and join the celebration.

“I don’t care what your worries are, your cares, when you walk through that door, Grandma’s going to take you somewhere else and y’all are going to have some fun,” she said.

The show’s only performance is 7:30 p.m. Friday at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro.

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