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Pure Movement

CHANCE DANCE FEST Bob Eisen and Fluid Measure Performance Company and Friends at Link’s Hall, August 3 In the fifth annual Chance Dance Fest, Bob Eisen once again captures the je ne sais quoi of pure movement. Like last year’s award-winning improvisation with Julie Worden, this year’s work created a Zen-like euphoria on a hot […]

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White Oak Dance Project

A decade ago, only one word was needed to sell a dance concert: Baryshnikov. Today, mention that Baryshnikov will perform as a member of the White Oak Dance Project and you hear: “Baryshnikov? Isn’t he old?” Yes, but his dance is perhaps better now than ever. The amazing leaps of his classical ballet days are […]

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Growing Choreographers

Amy Alt, Ann Boyd, and Marianne Kim at the Chicago Cultural Center, through June 11 Strange new airs waft through the dances of Ann Boyd, Marianne Kim, and Amy Alt, carrying a contagious sense of playfulness, a willingness to take risks, and a shaky comfort with the act of making bodies speak. Sometimes it feels […]

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Rational Malaise

RATIONAL MALAISE Splinter Group Studio A subtle yet pervasive feeling of malaise runs through all six of Kathleen Ross’s short plays, collectively titled Rational Malaise. At first it isn’t noticeable, but then a general feeling of uneasiness wells up, the kind of sadness that arises when things aren’t as they should be but aren’t about […]

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Alexander, Michaels/Future Movement

ALEXANDER, MICHAELS/FUTURE MOVEMENT at the Harold Washington Library, May 20 and 21 The “Future Movement” in the name of their group would be funny if Lane Alexander and Kelly Michaels didn’t seem to wish so desperately that it were true. There’s nothing new, let alone futuristic, about their styles of tap and jazz. Michaels’s choreography […]

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Hee Haw Meets the Ice Capades

LAR LUBOVITCH DANCE COMPANY at the Shubert Theatre, April 28-30 Lar Lubovitch creates incredibly graceful choreography. His dancers glide across the stage like ice skaters–as if they no longer recognized gravity, or as if the natural friction between feet and floor no longer existed. His dances are so well balanced and elegant it seems almost […]

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Blood Lotus

Jellyeye’s drum performance Blood Lotus–carefully choreographed chaos for eight drummers, ten drums, and three movie screens–is a sort of moving mandala that can transport the audience to another spiritual plane. On a good night watching Jellyeye flail their arms, kick up their legs, and invoke their odd, intense rhythms can cleanse the emotions: slowly but […]

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An Agnostic’s Hell

AN AGNOSTIC’S HELL at Link’s Hall, through May 1 The first thing to notice about Vincent Balestri’s work in An Agnostic’s Hell is its unassuming simplicity. The stage has the sparse, functional, yet comfortable feel of a bachelor’s apartment. Two black sheets are spread out on either side of the stage. On one is a […]

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Hedwig Dances Performance Company

Jan Bartoszek’s choreography unfolds so gently and graciously that it sometimes seems her movement makes its own music. Neither highly theatrical nor completely abstract, Bartoszek’s dances are poignantly human. They feel familiar yet otherworldly, landscapes of the soul filled with bittersweet emotions. Her new piece, Clearing, Made of Dream, takes its inspiration from the transformation […]

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Ballet Chicago

Hansel and Gretel, Ballet Chicago’s first full-length ballet, premiering at this year’s Spring Festival of Dance, is everything a ballet should be: gorgeous, charming, magical. Choreographers Daniel Duell and Gordon Peirce Schmidt intelligently incorporate the moral and psychological underpinnings of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale , making a ballet as meaningful as it is beautiful. […]

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The Conduct of Life

THE CONDUCT OF LIFE Pillar Studio The world is festering in Maria Irene Fornes’s The Conduct of Life. Rotten at the core, it’s producing a pus that slowly seeps into the souls of her characters and makes them morally weak and pathetic. Furthermore, Fornes seems to say, there is nothing they can do to prevent […]