Jan Erkert & Dancers

Jan Erkert is the best kind of magician, conjuring up feeling without ever grabbing for heartstrings or resorting to throbbing violins. Instead the dry, hard, everyday facts of the dance accumulate until they’re like a mound of stones on the heart–and we’re forced to notice our own sorrow. Then, just as magically, noticing takes the sorrow away and leaves the heart free and open. The somber theme of Erkert’s new dance, she writes, is the “continuous weaving and unweaving of relationships [revealing] the beautiful and mystifying coexistence of the fragile with the invincible.” Emotional quicksand. Yet Erkert has created a completely unsentimental piece in UnWeavings, filled with quick steps like a jig, death-defying leaps backward, embraces that dissolve or are transformed. Featuring original harp and vocal music by Gustavo Leone played and sung live and a set by textile artist Laurie Wohl–who painstakingly unweaves, weaves, and paints canvas–this piece promises an uncommon aural, visual, and emotional experience. Also new is company member Ginger Farley’s Blue June, a solo for Carrie Hanson, whose dancing Farley describes as “luscious but minimal.” The company reprises Inward and Outward Round, by former assistant director Mark Schulze, and dancer Suet May Ho again performs Erkert’s Turn Her White With Stones–my paradigm for the dry, hard dance that wrings the heart. Thursday, April 3, at 7:30; next Friday and Saturday, April 4 and 5, at 8; and next Sunday, April 6, at 3 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport; $12-$16. Call 312-902-1500 for tickets, 800-732-6230 for information.

–Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): “Unweavings” stage photo by William Frederking.