In a season when the phrase “family values” has come to mean a very exclusive club indeed, it’s refreshing to find an artist whose vision of family is so inclusive it might actually unite disparate groups on the divisive issues he treats: racism, sexism, and homophobia. In Urban Scenes/Creole Dreams, the final installment in a series about New Yorker David Rousseve’s Creole grandmother, he and his troupe Reality bring together country and city, the turn of the century and 1992, modern dance and hip-hop, nursery rhymes and work songs, rap and gospel. Rousseve’s big, rollicking movement, with lots of contact between the dancers in the form of lifts and carries, can also be surprisingly small, spare, and evocative, especially in the way he uses the dancers’ hands. I took my six-year-old daughter and my 60-something parents to a lecture/demonstration of Rousseve’s work, and everybody loved it. With original music by Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock sung by Chicago’s Faith Tabernacle Voices (who also performed in the Goodman’s The Gospel at Colonus), Urban Scenes/Creole Dreams promises to be big, boisterous, and warm–a visionary family gathering. This performance is a joint venture between Performing Arts Chicago and the Dance Center of Columbia College. Blackstone Theatre, 60 E. Balbo, Friday and Saturday at 8. $12-$25; call 271-7928 for tickets.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Donna McAdam.