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Pairs Event

Duets for My Valentine at the Athenaeum Theatre, February 11-12 By Terry Brennan Bob Barrett has created an amazing thing. A massage therapist who began to specialize in dancers after working on Rudolf Nureyev during his farewell tour, Barrett began putting on “Duets for My Valentine” in 1998; investing his own money, he would have […]

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Wise Investments

Chicago’s Next Dance Festival at the Athenaeum Theatre, through February 5 By Terry Brennan One of my friends, an officer in the army, told me about how different branches of the services promote officers, and why the air force reformed its approach. Under the old system, if two officers were otherwise equally qualified but the […]

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Keeping It In the Family

In Leaves Selene Carter, Tiina Harris, Atalee Judy, and Amy Alyn Pope at Link’s Hall, November 19-21 By Terry Brennan When Tiina Harris met her 94-year-old Estonian great-grandmother for the first time, the great-grandmother looked carefully at her and said, “You are the first one who looks like me.” Although we tend to think about […]

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No Room to Move

Mordine & Company Dance Theatre at the Dance Center of Columbia College, December 2-4 By Terry Brennan Dancers of all kinds dream of improvising as naturally and well as jazz musicians. Many social dances, like the jitterbug and the waltz, are improvisations using a small number of set moves. And much of the pleasure of […]

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Opposites Detract

The Descent Beckons Susan Marshall & Company at the Dance Center of Columbia College, November 11-13 How can a dance be simultaneously cutting edge and sophomoric? How can it have both an eloquent structure that suggests great choreographic intelligence and a tastelessness that bespeaks artistic negligence? This disconnection is the mystery of New York choreographer […]

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Mass Movements

Drumming Rosas at the Museum of Contemporary Art, October 19-20 By Terry Brennan and Daniel Halkin Why do we say that clocks go ticktock? Listen- ing carefully, one hears a clock go “tick, tick, tick,” each beat having the same intensity and sound: our minds convert a regular, repeating sound into a sound with variation, […]

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Single Steps

Jin-Wen Yu Dance at Link’s Hall, October 22-23 By Terry Brennan In Drumming Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker emphasizes multiplicity over individuality–the viewer is presented with multiple visions. Classical modern dance has a more traditional humanist orientation, focusing on the experience of the individual, an emphasis well illustrated in a concert by Jin-Wen Yu Dance at […]

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Sabine Fabie

Sabine Fabie brought a bright flash to Chicago in the five years she performed here, through her partnership with Mark Schulze and with Loop Troop. But the frantic pace and the relentless search for new ideas that are part of a performer’s life became too much and she burned out. After a divorce, Fabie moved […]

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Still Life With Trailer

The Caravan Project: When Nights Were Dark Eiko & Koma at Water Tower Park, September 9 and 10, and Wicker Park, September 11 By Terry Brennan Performers on occasion try to make critics irrelevant. At worst they’re trying to protect their work from attack. But at best they’re trying to change the relationship with their […]

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Realms of the Senses

Jan Erkert & Dancers at the Dance Center of Columbia College, March 11-13 Dances From the Heart Hedwig Dances at the Athenaeum Theatre, through March 21 By Terry Brennan Dance–which is only a set of moving bodies–is naturally abstract. Traditional dance forms like ballet often try to tell a comprehensible story by using mime, gestures, […]

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Dreaming the Divine

Dreaming the Divine at Link’s Hall, February 19-March 14 By Terry Brennan When I first heard about the “Dreaming the Divine” series at Link’s Hall–four weekends of dance, music, and performance art about spirituality–I was intrigued. But a dancer friend said, “Dance is naturally so spiritual. What are they going to do, lift up their […]

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Agenda Gap

Transparent Hinges H.T. Chen & Dancers at the Dance Center of Columbia College, February 18-20 By Terry Brennan Art and politics are frequent bedfellows. The most obvious of political dances tend to advocate specific agendas. Liz Lerman’s company of senior citizens promotes respect for the elderly. Most folk dance ensembles advocate ethnic pride and respect […]

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Pleasures Great and Small

Ruth Page Dance Series at Northeastern Illinois University, February 25-28 Being in Dreaming Tyego Dance Project at the Athenaeum Theatre, February 26-27 and March 14 By Terry Brennan Should pleasures be large or small? Epic or miniaturist? Operatic or minimalist? Because I distrust American pop culture and its emphasis on the big and powerful, I […]

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Raising Spirits

Chicago’s Next Dance Festival at the Athenaeum Theatre, through February 6 By Terry Brennan Capturing spiritual awakening and transformation is famously difficult. It’s like gazing into the sun: most of the time you chase shadows, because seeing the real thing can last only a few moments. Cindy Brandle wants to address transformation in Awakening. Midway […]