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Secular Movements

Festival of Organ and Dance Kast and Company at Saint Thomas the Apostle Church, March 2 and 3 This year’s “Festival of Organ and Dance” in-cluded Maggie Kast’s third installment in her series of dances to be performed at Saint Thomas the Apostle Church. Forgoing a religious theme this year, Kast focused on dance–on moving […]

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Parallel Worlds

The many years that Lauri Macklin has been performing have taught her to pare her performances to the simplest things. In the 20-minute solo piece Parallel Worlds she sits in a chair and plays the accordion and sings wordlessly, then tells a story, and finally plays and sings again. But the story–about an idolized aunt […]

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A Picture of Youth

The Exploded House Mad Shak Dance Company at Link’s Hall, February 17-19 I usually go to the comics page in the daily paper for earthy wisdom. I needed some Saturday morning after seeing a performance by the Mad Shak Dance Company, made up of bright young people filled with ideas. The performance was articulate and […]

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Jump Giant Project

This group of young choreographers decided to “jump giant”–to bypass the usual route for independent choreographers of putting on a few individual concerts a year at small venues. Instead they’ve pooled their money and rented the Athenaeum Theatre, an ornate auditorium that seats a few hundred, hoping to attract an audience outside the die-hard dance […]

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Attention Getters

Two Men Are Dead Continued, Bare-Handed, and Arthur 33 Dolores Wilbur and Mike Geither at Randolph Street Gallery, February 10 and 11 The Museum: An Exploratory Gallery Chicago Actors Ensemble at the Preston Bradley Community Center, through February 26 It must be extraordinary. Whether it’s a field of metallic green in a painting, a triple […]

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Pomo Homos

Rollover Atlas/Axis at Link’s Hall, February 3-4 Chicago’s Atlas/Axis is part of a phenomenon that might be called–after a Los Angeles performance group who named themselves, with tongues deeply in cheek, Pomo Afro Homos–the pomo-homo movement. It combines postmodernism with a gay sensibility to create an approach that has had, to be honest, mixed results. […]

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Sound Bits

MASS at Synergy Gallery, through February 2 Walking into Synergy Gallery, you could almost run into the strands of brass wire Bill Close has installed. They’re so thin they don’t catch the eye at first, but then the rows of wire stretching from the floor to the stairway banisters pop into sight like an optical […]

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Soul Food

Mordine & Company Dance Theatre at the Dance Center of Columbia College, December 8 and 10 “My ideas don’t tend to be topical; they’re about really big issues,” Shirley Mordine has said. Usually I’d approach such a statement skeptically–the gap between what a choreographer intends and what she achieves is often wide. But Mordine’s recent […]

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Sakuntala

Myth often seems like something belonging to long-vanished peoples. But for the Hindus of modern India, a living polytheistic culture, myth is not so distant.Sakuntala retells through dance and mime a myth from the Mahabharata, one of India’s two great epic poems. Jennifer Savarirayan, who’s studied both modern dance and the south Indian dance form […]

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Senseless Beating

Stomp at the Shubert Theatre, November 22-27 When is a clever trick just clever shtick? When you take a trick to virtuoso levels, is it still just a trick? Paraphrasing Mao, can revelation grow out of the barrel of a trick? I can’t quite say that these were the questions going through my mind when […]

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Next Dance Festival

There are a few lines from an Alice Walker poem that I want to copy and tape to the refrigerator door of some of my friends: “Never offer someone your heart who is a heart eater / Who finds heart meat delicious but not rare.” Eater of Hearts, Paula Frasz’s solo based on that poem–to […]

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What’s My Line?

ZEPHYR DANCE ENSEMBLE and CONVERGENCE DANCERS AND MUSICIANS at Wilbur Wright College, October 29 and 30 When I look at a dance, I don’t ask myself whether I liked it or whether it was good. Instead I imagine walking up to the choreographer and asking, “Who are you? What are you doing about it?” In […]

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Some Old Familiar Traces

AMY OSGOOD, JACKIE RADIS, AND MAYA WARD at Link’s Hall, October 21-23 Homecoming is a tricky business. People usually leave their homes for good reason and have ambivalent feelings when they return. Home has changed and they have changed. For the people at home, homecoming can be bittersweet too; the returner has grown older but […]

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Jim Self

If you look at his resume, Jim Self may be the most talented of the former Chicago choreographers Link’s Hall has invited back to perform in its Homecoming Series. He danced for Merce Cunningham for several seasons; collaborated closely with Robert Wilson on his performance epic Civil WarS; ran his own dance company, which toured […]

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Bourgeois Melodrama

SWAN LAKE American Ballet Theatre at the Auditorium Theatre, September 27-October 2 Ballet has always had its superstars–its Baryshnikovs and Pavlovas, its Petipas and Balanchines. Somewhere in the hype, the ballets themselves get lost. American Ballet Theatre’s presentation of its stock version of Swan Lake is a good opportunity to look just at the dance […]