Duets for My Valentine

Watching a rehearsal of Sarah Ford’s new romantic duet, The Call, made me think about how a dance performed in such close quarters recapitulates the terms of a romantic relationship in its early stages. Distances are calibrated, appearances are calculated, weights and burdens are measured and balanced. The dancers’ bodily negotiations reflect the subtle process of two people learning to be with each other emotionally and physically. Using a slow, elastic jazz piece by Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, Ford creates a mood of suspense and expectation that’s palpably erotic; a member of Deeply Rooted Productions, she’s clearly imbibed its deep, sweet aesthetic in this dance about a siren’s call, as have dancers Elana Anderson and Keith Givens. Also on this eclectic Valentine’s program–an annual affair produced by massage therapist Bob Barrett–are Harrison McEldowney’s That Ain’t Right; Melissa Thodos & Dancers performing In Two Time; Jon Lehrer’s jazz piece Persuasion; Mad Shak Dance Company’s new piece The Compromise of Autumn; Tyego Dance Project’s new dance for this concert plus In the Garden, accompanied live by jazz singer Kurt Elling; the Chicago Swing Half-Breeds in All Is Fair in Love and Lindy Hop; Ellyzabeth Adler’s When Raindrops Fall; two contemporary ballet duets by the Moose Project; LeAnn Vancil’s Spark; M.K. Victorson’s “wistful look at a long-ago crush,” M.K.V. + S.D. = T.L.A.; and Eduardo Vilaro’s Luna Negra Dance Theatre in the salsa-influenced Blue Havana and tango piece Ognat. Friday and Saturday at 8 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport; $15-$20. Call 312-902-1500 for tickets, 773-935-6860 for information and group rates.

–Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/August Tye.