For the past dozen years, the Ohio State University Department of Dance ventured to the Riffe Center each May to bring its artistry to the community in its "Dance Downtown" series. This year the department instead decided to stick around on Campus for "Dance Uptown."

For the past dozen years, the Ohio State University Department of Dance ventured to the Riffe Center each May to bring its artistry to the community in its "Dance Downtown" series. This year the department instead decided to stick around on Campus for "Dance Uptown."

The program features four works set to African, African-American and African-influenced music.

In his hip-hop dance theater piece, Los Angeles-based choreographer Sabela Grimes plays with the relationship between dancers and their images in a notion he calls "smear" or "subtle motion, eternal reflection."

Local choreographer Susan Hadley lends a feminist twist to the world of 1960s "girl groups" such as The Chiffons, The Dixie Cups, Lesley Gore, Little Eva, and The Shirelles. Hadley's "Back, Jack" unearths the female empowerment buried in those songs of betrayal and heartache.

OSU lecturer Olivier Tarpaga collaborates with musician Flatie Dembele, who is from Burkina Faso, as well as local visual artist Nicole Bauguss and composer Michael Wall on "L'Ombre de Silence" ("Shadow of Silence").

Blues master B.B. King inspired Michael Kelly Bruce's "Hummingbird," which focuses on a female dancer's past disappointments and hopes for the future. Bruce sets the dance in a roadhouse on U.S. Route 61 heading out of Memphis.

"There's a strength of soul, of character, of humanity that makes her think things can get better," Bruce explained.