H.T. Chen & Dancers

In one variation on multicultural approaches, Asian-American choreographer H.T. Chen uses modern dance to depict the experiences of Chinese immigrants to this country over the last 150 years, conducting research and interviews to obtain his material. (Chen was born in Shanghai and raised in Taiwan, then moved to New York, where his company is based, to attend Juilliard and New York University.) The evening-length Transparent Hinges is a strange enterprise in a way, both bolstered and undermined by Zhou Long’s score, which uses such traditional instruments as bamboo flutes and the Chinese opera gong. Long’s Eastern-sounding music certainly sets the scene–otherwise I’m not sure we’d know that this is a dance about the Asian-American experience–but it also sits oddly with the modern choreography, which is sometimes slightly inflected by the movements of Asian dance. Well-intentioned, at times kinetically dynamic, and marked by a few images of great beauty (including one in which two dancers withstand brief showers), Transparent Hinges is quite unlike any other dance I’ve seen, though its multiculti intent is certainly common enough these days. Thursday, February 18, through Saturday at 8 at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 4730 N. Sheridan; $20. Call 773-989-3310 for tickets and information.

–Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Transparent Hinges photo by Carol Rosegg.