Jane Siarny and Julie Caffey

Solo movement can be profoundly unengaging: the worst instance I ever saw was a woman performing a whirling-dervish trance dance for what seemed hours on end. She was in heaven; we were in hell. There are tricks to circumvent the form’s potential self-absorption, however. Jane Siarny uses two chairs in her Grammy’s Shoes to juxtapose stability with disorder–expressing her Baptist grandmother’s strength and groundedness, for example, by placing one foot on each chair seat in a plie, then repeatedly scooping up with a big breath that somehow captures the pride and grace of work well done. Later in the piece she straddles the two, rocking perilously between them; later still she “sits” in one chair as it lies sideways on the floor. People and chairs alike have a proper orientation–especially within a strict community–but the natural order can be disrupted in Siarny’s literary, empathic speculation on motherhood, artists, and religion. Julie Caffey joins Siarny in this Hedwig Dances event, exploring the fantasy and reality of calling Chicago home in her humorous movement-based solo High-heeled Bricks, first presented at the Terra Museum’s “1998: New Artists in Chicago” exhibition. Wednesday at 12:15 in the dance studio of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; free. Then next Friday, August 14, at 7 in the same place; $8 (performance will be followed by a half-hour introduction to the solo performance workshop Siarny and Caffey are giving that weekend for experienced artists and neophytes alike). Call 773-871-0872, ext. 1, for tickets and information. –Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Jane Siarny photo by Bill Frederking.