Jan Erkert & Dancers

It’s the nature of passion to be out of this world, inhabiting some unnamed territory in the stratosphere, but the words we use to communicate that state of excess are surprisingly small and empty. Saying that the passion of Jan Erkert’s choreography–and her dancers–is overwhelming, astounding, and phenomenal in no way does justice to the work. But I’ll say it anyway. Watching the third section of her new four-part piece, Streaming, I felt terrified and exhilarated at once. Part of that came from the music: four drummers playing Ushio Torikai’s percussion score live. There’s nothing like drum music for evoking the fight-or-flight response. But the feeling also came from Erkert’s six dancers, whose frantic runs and tumbles across the stage–one dancer actually traverses the back wall–create a chaotic sense of energy involuntarily released. The dancers’ interactions and confrontations often suggest anger, but it seems an indirect and impersonal force unmotivated by anything so insignificant as human relations. Called “Stagnant Wanting,” this section looks anything but stagnant–recalling the poetic sense of paradox and irony typical of Erkert’s work. With a text by Erkert, environmental design and projections by B.J. Krivanek, and theatrical direction by Ann Boyd, Streaming promises to be a dance-theater piece of the first order. Also on the program are Erkert’s 1991 Between Men, set to flamenco music, and company member Robbie Cook’s new solo, A Short Walk, based on the gestures of a character in Ingmar Bergman’s film Hour of the Wolf. Thursday, February 24, through next Saturday, February 26, at 8 at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 4730 N. Sheridan; $20. A narrated performance for the FamilyDance Series takes place next Sunday, February 27, at 3 (optional parent-child workshop at 2:15) in the same place; $10, $6 for children. Call 773-989-3310 for tickets and information.

–Laura Molzahn

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