Brandon Collwes and Claire Westby in Horizon Credit: Thaddeus Rombauer

At first glance, the conspicuous white ceiling hovering over the stage in Liz Gerring’s Horizon is reminiscent of a giant fluorescent light bulb, flattened out over several feet and suspended in the air like a cloud. Not many dances have ceilings, which is why you get the sense that what you’re looking at is the focal point of a muted, abstract design. “A lot of my work, it’s the same way you would view something in an art museum,” Gerring says. “Taking in its visual properties and emotion is how you perceive what you’re looking at, rather than a narrative.”

With its minimalist set, Horizon often suggests the notion of filling in the blanks—a canvas that’s colored by movement. The hour-long piece is plotless and features seven dancers who exhibit the kind of athleticism intended to reach all corners of their boundaries, in this case the stage. They engage one another in groups, disengaging for solos, the brightness of their costumes and their explosive leaps providing sweeping textures of color. It’s hard to give the piece a definable theme outside of calling it an experiment in pure movement. One might assume that on some level the piece is about relationships. But that would be assuming too much.
“To me, the best comment on life is an action. It’s not something you can say or talk or speak or write, it’s like, ‘They’re just doing,’ Gerring says of Horizon and her cast. “It’s supposed to be uplifting—the triumph they have over their body.”

Horizon Thu 4/6-Sat 4/8: 7:30 PM, Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-369-6600,, $30.