Dancing Across State Lines

“We do awkward things well–it’s the awkward aesthetic,” Zephyr Dance artistic director Michelle Kranicke says of the purpose of her all-female modern-dance troupe. Associate artistic director Emily Stein adds, “We want to find the beauty in things that are not pretty.” As Kranicke’s new solo and Stein’s new duet reveal, the group’s vision has evolved in an uncompromising direction over its nine years. Kranicke’s solo opens with dancer Kristen Pollack “walking” the width of the stage on her butt in an exercise eminently familiar to dance students; she breaks her slow transit only once, when she whirls into a crouch and regards the floor. Stein’s The Sibling Knot, which she dances with Laurel Moore, explores the intimate contests between sisters in mirroring movements and “embraces” that resemble strangleholds. It premieres on the first weekend of the fourth annual “Dancing Across State Lines,” a project that brings in out-of-town groups; Kranicke’s solo is on the second. Her experimental One Big Shrieking, a quintet set to music by Erik Satie and a tape of a Velvet Underground rehearsal, appears on both. The guests on the first weekend are Tom and Susana Evert, former Paul Taylor dancers now married and living in Cleveland, in two duets. On the second, the Nancy Hauser Dance Company of Minneapolis–the midwest’s first modern-dance company, founded in 1961 and rooted in the Mary Wigman-Hanya Holm aesthetic–presents works choreographed by current artistic director Heidi Jasmin, Hauser’s daughter. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 through November 15 in the Marjorie Ward Marshall Dance Center of Northwestern University, 1979 South Campus Drive in Evanston; $5-$9. Call 773-989-8225 or 847-491-3147 for tickets and information. –Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Michelle Kranicke photo by William Frederking.