Tyego Dance Project

August Tye may not be the first choreographer to put a new spin on the classical vocabulary, but she’s one of the most insouciant, transforming the taut shapes of ballet into something pert rather than uptight. Yet she’s no lightweight, no mere popularizer of venerable moves. In Spirit Trail, a 1989 piece being revived for this concert, she uses ancient Russian choral music and a large cast, including children, to portray humanity’s labor and sorrow, offsetting the heaviness with a warriorlike solo by her sister Aimee (Tyego’s assistant artistic director), a tiny woman with the force of a virago. In Picasso, performed to a Kurt Elling-Laurence Hobgood setting of a Gwendolyn Brooks poem, Tye experiments with the weight-bearing potential of dancers, placing them in various towers and slow-building piles, capturing the jazz score’s unpredictability and suspension. And in X, danced partly on pointe, she creates a violent, febrile day in the life of a businessman–a treatment more expressionistic than naturalistic, a feat of imagination rather than description. If anything, the “love” duet that closes this dance ups the ante on the aggression and competition that have come before, providing another showcase for Aimee Tye (other standout dancers are Jacquelyn Sanders and Jennifer Carney Elling). Also on the program, “Being in Dreaming,” are a new piece by August Tye and company member Van Collins’s Rewind. Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sunday, March 14, at 7 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport; $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Call 312-902-1500 for tickets, 773-935-6860 for information.

–Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): August and Aimee Tye uncredited photo.