On the opposite end of the spectrum from Burn the Floor–a glitzy Broadway show opening this week that panders to the audience in every possible way–is dance with so much integrity it risks boring us. Wayne McGregor, artistic director of the London-based Random Dance Company, takes that risk. Watching his Aeon on tape, I felt I was witnessing a physics demonstration that used the body to illustrate such concepts as the fulcrum and pendulum. Creating angular, often odd articulations, McGregor transforms his dancers into impersonal machines whose parts might intersect but who never interact. The point appears to be the invention of new moves–and McGregor’s ingenuity is considerable–rather than shaping movement into a coherent whole: ultimately the dancers’ spiky forms are a semaphore we can’t decode. But a scientific approach is clearly McGregor’s intent; in an interview with BBC radio last spring he talked about starting his “physical explorations” with data: “That might be numerical data, that might be linguistic data, that might be…the word ‘brain states.’ How is it that you can actually make that word a spatial entity?…It’s actually…in a way quite methodical, it’s quite analytical.” The piece for eight the company is performing here, The Trilogy, sets excerpts from Aeon, Sulphur 16, and Millennarium against a backdrop of digitally produced projections to create a “cyber-landscape where the live and present meets the live and nonpresent.” Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-344-8300. Opens Thursday, November 1, 8 PM. Through November 3: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $20. Note: Random Dance will offer a one-hour family-oriented show Saturday, November 3, at 3 PM (workshop begins at 2:15). $10 adults; $6 children.

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