Merce Cunningham’s dances show that structured randomness provides a playground for the mind. In eyeSpace, being performed on both programs here, audience members listen to randomly arranged selections from the score on iPods. Fabrications, on the second program, brings a “dance painting” to life from an initially limited palette: two performers barely stand out from a hazy blue matrix. Later shifts in lighting and choreography reveal what’s actually there–five dancers strategically arranged to look like two–and change your perception of the backdrop, an abstract painting whose lines and colors appear and disappear. Little remains constant, but overall the piece is coherent: the sound score, like the painting, is made up of washes–repetitive noise or a single sustained note–overlaid by more delicate tracings, perhaps distant voices or the meandering lines of a violin. I thought this 30-minute piece might come full circle, returning to the “two” dancers, but the curtain comes down on a colorful, swirling stageful of a dozen performers. The first program also includes Crises and CRWDSPCR, and the second program also includes MinEvent. a Fri-Sat 10/12-10/13, 8 PM, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph, 312-344-6600, $20-$50. Cunningham dancer Robert Swinston offers a master class Thu 10/11, 6:30 PM, Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-344-8300, $15. –Laura Molzahn
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Fabrications photo by Tony Doughtery.