Zephyr Dance

Michelle Kranicke has developed a fine eye and ear for contrast, for visual, aural, and kinetic textures. As artistic director of Zephyr Dance, the all-female troupe she founded in 1989, she’s evolved from a choreographer making specific, often feminist cultural observations into an artist interested in a broad range of issues that just happen to be expressed through what she calls the “physical strength and daring, the willingness to try,” of women. Her new trio, set to music by Czech vocalist and viola player Iva Bittova, explores the idea that each of us is the sum of all the people we’ve known, a notion expressed in echoing but not identical simultaneous movements–a turn at different rates, a seated pose facing different directions, a leg drawn up by dancers who may be sitting or standing. Tissue Thin, a sextet Kranicke recently expanded, uses an abstract film loop by Rich Norwood projected on the dancers’ bodies, an excerpt from an old wax-cylinder recording by They Might Be Giants, and percussion music by Steve Reich to set the stage for three distinct types of movement: meditative individual motions resembling tai chi; rolling, evolving tableaux; and fast, wild leaps and runs. I found this piece–said to examine “society’s detached manner”–paradoxically involving, even riveting. Associate artistic director Emily Stein offers a reworking of Somnium, about insomnia, with new music by Marc Pollak. Also on the program, a one-night company benefit, are Kranicke’s Weren’t We Just Kissing and Memory Slipped and Stein’s Sibling Knot. Saturday at 8 in the auditorium of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State; $15 for the performance only, $40 for performance and postshow party (food and cash bar), featuring swing dance instruction. Call 773-929-2783 for tickets and information. –Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): still by William Frederking.