Nothing in the dance world even remotely approaches the saturation of feeling achieved by Eiko & Koma, a husband-and-wife team whose intimacy in performance magnifies the moment, not the personality, conveying a Zen-like timelessness. (They’re the only duo ever to win a MacArthur Foundation genius award, formerly reserved for individuals.) Memory–the performance that concludes the Dance Center’s Shinpi No Bi fest and opens the Spring Festival of Dance–is a four-part exploration they’ve described as “poems for grieving souls.” The visual component of Eiko & Koma’s work is reminiscent of Ballets Russes set designer Leon Bakst, who placed Nijinsky in natural environments so total he seemed absorbed into them. With a modern self-awareness and a butoh-inspired style that transcends even the avant-garde, Eiko & Koma in past performances have achieved a similar integration: audiences have been known to be unaware of Eiko & Koma’s presence, so interwoven are they with each other and with the installation, as they wait for the performance to begin. Performing in the nude and demanding the audience’s serious involvement, Eiko & Koma are great artists, the most boundary-shattering yet to be seen in the new theater at the MCA. Free preview Tuesday at 12:15 in the auditorium of the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State; call 312-747-4800 for information. Regular performances Thursday and next Friday, March 13 and 14, at 8; next Saturday, March 15, at 3; and next Sunday, March 16, at 3 and 7:30 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago; $15-$20. Call 773-989-3310 for tickets and information. –Joseph Houseal
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by David Fullard.