When Chicago choreographer Timothy Buckley was performing his solo The Grave Digger at Jacob’s Pillow last summer, festival director Sam Miller told Buckley that his character reminded him of the early-20th-century ballet legend Vaslav Nijinsky. Miller also told Buckley about a new biography of Nijinsky that focused on both the exhilarating genius and debilitating schizophrenia of the former Ballets Russes star heralded as “God of the Dance.” Inspired by the book and Nijinsky’s personal diaries, Buckley wrote a humorous yet melancholy performance piece. Jinsky Pinsky feels like it’s dancing in the mind of a crazy man, fueled by a shattered logic and the odd events in the dancer’s life. Buckley has been dancing in New York and Chicago for 16 years, but this is his first foray into the world of spoken theater. He’s charming as Jinsky Pinsky, a mental patient who thinks he’s Nijinsky. He has a knack for comedy, with his deadpan facial expressions and delivery of lines like “the world’s greatest dancer thinks with his feet, not his head. Why don’t you examine my feet?!” Using only four performers and a piano, Buckley creates a disturbing, magical world and captures the spirit of a time when dancers were gods. Links Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield, 281-0824. March 12 through 21: Fridays-Saturdays, 8 PM; Sundays, 7 PM. $7.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jeanette May.