Picture this: a man flaps his arms progressively higher and harder, then begins bouncing on the balls of his feet, too. Tragically, he never leaves the ground–and if you don’t laugh, you might cry. Montreal native Paul-Andre Fortier goes through this and similar taking-off routines several times in his hour-long solo, La tentation de la transparence (“The Temptation of Transparency”), a quirky, slow-paced, ultimately poetic piece about . . . human aspirations? Loneliness? The need to play? Whatever, Fortier is riveting: with his strongly arched brows and angular yet sensual face he bears a passing resemblance to Nijinsky, and he inhabits his character so thoroughly that you’re utterly convinced his small, odd, and often repetitive movements come from some deep-seated inner need and not from the hand of a choreographer. Betty Goodwin has designed the ten-by-six-foot slanted platform on which Fortier performs, and Gaetan Leboeuf has composed the original music, a richly varied aural landscape–essentially it’s Fortier’s partner, whether he dances with or ignores it. Fortier, a key figure in Montreal’s 20-year “new dance” tradition, appears as part of the New World/New Art festival being presented by the Dance Center of Columbia College. (Also appearing over the next two weeks: Mexico’s Antares Danza Contemporanea, Cuba’s Los Munequitos de Matanzas, and Argentina’s El Descueve.) At the Dance Center, 4730 N. Sheridan, Friday and Saturday at 8, $14. Call 271-7928.

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