Rosy Co.

Alternately flopping like rag dolls and bursting into visceral attacks on the space around them, the seven dancers of Tokyo-based Rosy Co. perform Kota Yamazaki’s Picnic like so many graceful junkies, lethargic and violent by turn. That’s not surprising, I guess, given that one of Yamazaki’s inspirations for this 1997 dance was the film Trainspotting and the other was the New York nightclub scene. Yamazaki’s roots are in butoh–he performed with Akira Kasai, who appeared at the Dance Center of Columbia College last week, for three years–and a few slow-motion sequences in Picnic under a dappled, watery light recall the form. But otherwise this work, performed as the company’s Chicago debut, looks and sounds Western. The choreography is modern, sometimes with a tinge of club dancing and sometimes with touches of ballet. The music is primarily industrial-sounding rock–occasionally a mindless chugging like an idling steam engine. The dancers’ silky costumes emphasize the fluidity and tensile strength of their movements. The lighting (often a TV blue glare) and set (a hanging ladder and table set for four, including wineglasses) heighten the irony of the title: this is very far from a pastoral scene. But in other ways the title is perfectly appropriate–a picnic is rootless and transitory, an evocation of home that isn’t home, and the dance does depict a human community, however fragmented and anomic. Thursday, March 30, through next Saturday, April 1, at 8 at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 4730 N. Sheridan; $20. Call 773-989-3310 for tickets and information. (As part of the DanceMasters series, Yamazaki and Rosy Co. will offer an intermediate-level two-hour workshop this Saturday at 12:30 in the dance studio of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Call 773-989-3310 for information.)

–Laura Molzahn

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