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XSight! Performance Group

I saw Cycles of Unveiling in rehearsal, without costumes or set. When you see it, tattered cheesecloth will hang from the ceiling between the audience and the dancers. Five of them will be nude except for lengths of cheesecloth wrapped around their hips or chests. A sixth clothed dancer is “a voyeur–a representative of the […]

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Humanist Touch

Room for Many More! Liz Lerman Dance Exchange With Mordine & Company Dance Theatre at the Chicago Historical Society, November 3 and 4 Liberalism used to make sense in America. Old-style liberalism, the kind Hubert Humphrey exemplified, was based on a humanist vision of the equal dignity and worth of all people. It’s a hard […]

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Dancing Across State Lines

Zephyr Dance Ensemble artistic director Michelle Kranicke has created two new dances that sneak up on you. At first her duet A Minor Concern seems merely a catalog of quirky movement, made even more disjointed by its accompaniment: a singsong children’s ditty. But the movement starts to create a logic of its own, the logic […]

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Recipe for Salvation

The Whispers of Angels David Rousseve/Reality at the Athenaeum Theatre, September 28-30 The Whispers of Angels tells the story of a young black man dying from AIDS, but the word “AIDS” is never spoken. It is sumptuous dance theater, with stunning dancing and marvelous stage pictures, but its dances express isolation and clinging. David Rousseve […]

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Searching for the Center

Chance Dance Fest at Link’s Hall, through August 30 A dancer’s “center”–that mysterious point from which dancers move and to which they always return–has an almost mystical quality. Conceived of as a physical point somewhere in the middle of the body, it’s really a kind of body awareness, of where one’s weight and limbs are […]

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Heaven’s Movement

In the Water Chicago Moving Company at the Dance Center of Columbia College, through June 24 Two small straw baskets flanked the entrance to the Dance Center. Holding burning sticks of incense and small mounds of flower petals, cooked white rice, and fresh fruits, the baskets seemed completely out of place on that cement sidewalk […]

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Marianne Kim and Kate Thomas

Marianne Kim’s images are often impregnable–evocative and rich but without a shred of explanation or context. A young woman reaches for a red umbrella suspended in midair, for example, or a woman wearing only a togalike skirt takes ten minutes to turn in a circle. Many of Kim’s recent pieces draw on the super-slow Japanese […]

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The Singer, Not The Song

Hedwig Dances Performance Company at the Chicago Cultural Center, through May 20 Zephyr Dance Ensemble at the Harold Washington Library, May 12 and 13 The dances in Hedwig Dances Performance Company’s tenth-anniversary concert are good, and some are very good, but the dancing outshines them. And artistic director Jan Bartoszek has assembled not only a […]

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Sexual Healing

Dance Fusion Soul & Duende Spanish American Dance Theatre and Near East Heritage Dance Theatre at the Bop Shop, April 23 Psychokinetic Debra R. Levasseur and Robynne M. Gravenhorst at Link’s Hall, April 28-29 Unless you put a flamenco dancer and a belly dancer side by side, as the recent “Dance Fusion” concert did, you’ll […]

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Margaret Jenkins Dance Company

Like mandala, Margaret Jenkins’s The Gates: Far Away Near tries to paint a picture of the entire world from every possible point of view. In fact The Gates tries to paint consciousness, not just things. Only a mystic would attempt a task so outrageously ambitious, and Jenkins and her collaborators fashion a worthy mandala by […]

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Fear of Failing

Jan Erkert & Dancers at the Dance Center of Columbia College, March 23-25 Jan Erkert says that her Whole Fragments is about healing, and that it’s drawn from her experience of being hospitalized for two months with a spinal infection. The dance is filled with images of helpless bodies and nurturing caretakers, but its bedrock […]