Mad Shak Dance Company and the Dance COLEctive

Some dance is easy, as easy as water: it washes over you and that’s it. But some dance, keeping its distance, requires time and effort–not so much thought as full investment and attention. That’s the kind of dance done by Molly Shanahan, artistic director of Mad Shak, and Margi Cole, head of the Dance COLEctive. Watching Cole perform the solo created for her by Ellie Klopp, Channel, reveals the choreographer’s subtle, honed sense of time and detail and the dancer’s vast energy and strength: like a channel swimmer, Cole confronts some nameless, faceless force in motions liquid, flowing, often delicious, sometimes violent. In Shanahan’s women’s trio Radio Vendetta, she captures alienation from oneself in fractured movement and tortured, unnatural breathing that both expresses and defies outside control. In Stricken Bough, working from an image of birds, she creates a meditation on vulnerability, using repetition to explore the potential for menace and comfort in a bare touch, the emotional implications of physical collapse. Original music by Mad Shak members Kevin O’Donnell and David Dieckmann enhances the work’s dreamlike progression. But Shanahan can also be lighthearted, as in the quasi-military Hive, also on this program, rounded out by two other new Dance COLEctive pieces, Cole’s Hair Trigger and Colleen Halloran’s Fersmuddj. Friday and Saturday at 8 in the Harold Washington Library auditorium, 400 S. State; $9-$11. Call 773-604-8452 for tickets and information. –Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photos by Kirsten Sorton and William Frederking.