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Duets for a Lifetime

Ruth Benson Levin and Lynn Modell have been working together for many years. They first met as freshman dance majors at Adelphi University in 1972 and have been creating dance works together ever since. After graduation they moved to Boston, and with other Adelphi alumnae, formed a dance company called Kineticompany. Their first performing locales were the old Joy of Movement Center, now the Dance Complex, and the long gone YWCA in Central Square, Cambridge. They created work for the early years of ‘First Night Boston”.

Individually, they have produced numerous full evening concerts of their own choreography. They went on to present work at Jacob’s Pillow, Boston University, MIT, Green Street Studios, the Institute of Contemporary Dance, and the Dance Complex.

Lynn and Ruth taught dance at Brookline High School and a few Boston colleges throughout the past four decades. They particularly enjoyed choreographing works for their students and watching them grow as dancers and performers.

Now, having reached a certain age, feeling free and unencumbered from full-time jobs and raising children, Lynn and Ruth decided to continue their performing career under the name, “Duets for a Lifetime.”

Lynn and Ruth have created new works for NACHMO Boston. They performed twice at the Starlight Theater in Cambridge.  They created a new piece last August for Ten Tiny Dances produced by the Dance Complex. This past September, they performed their comic duet, "Time Is Tight And So Are My Pants" at the Dance for World Community Festival. They produced two videos during Covid lockdown, "Restless" and "Basement Airlines".

Their most recent project this winter was entitled “Lighten Up.” The inspiration for “Lighten Up” came from wanting to embrace the darkness of winter instead of complaining about it. With Covid in mind, the goal was to create a dance with lights on their bodies that could be performed in driveways of homes around the Boston area. Initially, the thought was to bring the dance to people who had been ill or experienced a loss with the hope of providing a little cheer and a brief distraction. But with the arrival of the Omicron variant and the third year of the pandemic, Lynn and Ruth realized that everyone could use a little break from the stress of coping with Covid. Choreographing the dance and figuring out the sources of light were the easy parts. The challenges turned out to be how to attach the lights to clothing and then find the on/off buttons in the dark.

As of the last week of February 2022, Lynn and Ruth have performed the dance in 38 different locations. The Boston Globe Comfort section did a feature article about the project. Even though it will be getting dark later and later as the season progresses, they hope to continue to perform ‘Lighten Up’ throughout the year.

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