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Dance Chicago 06: New Moves Nov. 9, 2006 Review
Small dance troupes keep show lively
HEDY WEISS Dance Critic, Chicago Sun-Times

November 11, 2006

Dance Chicago 2006 -- the 12th annual monthlong showcase of the vast array of dance activity being generated in this city -- is in full swing at the Athenaeum Theatre. And Thursday night's program of "New Moves," the first of several devoted to "all new dances in all forms," demonstrated once again that there is a whole lot of movement going on in this city, and that it reaches far beyond the big, glitzy, high-priced sort of dance companies.

The 11 works presented by almost as many companies or solo artists ran the gamut from highly polished to college dance-studio level in terms of both basic choreographic interest and performance skill. But when the program was good, it was exceptionally good. Here's a look at the highlights:

• • "Riot in the Heart," Van Collins' thrilling work for his own RASA Dance Chicago -- 11 female dancers strong -- is set to exotic music by Anoushka Shankar, with beautiful costumes (skin-tone leotards laced with black, vinelike designs) by Collins and Shaun Ricks, and terrific lighting by Jared Moore. An intriguingly ritualistic work, with a touch of "The Rite of Spring," it has great propulsion and wonderful patterning. The piece seemed to end twice, but this work is a real "keeper," and was danced with tremendous verve.

• • "Remake," Winnifred Haun's work set to a starkly atonal score by Anton Webern, was created for modern dancers in 1993, but now has been reworked for Paul Abrahamson's Chicago Ballet so that it could be danced on pointe. It, too, has a ritualistic feel -- like Balanchine's stunning pieces to Stravinsky -- with the quartet of female dancers stepping across the stage in a handsome promenade.

• • "Vignettes: Pulling Concepts From a Canvas" is choreographer Tracy Marion's contemporary relationship tales set to songs by the clever, rhythmically quirky songwriter Regina Spektor and danced with panache by members of Giordano 2 and Giordano Scholarship students.

• • "On the Rise," Chloe Jensen's work for two female acrobats and a trapeze, features Jensen and Allison Hall as the incredibly strong, shape-shifting performers. But the piece would benefit from smoother transitions.

• • "Everything's Not Water," Christopher M. McCray's work for himself and three other intense male dancers (Kyle Terry, Chris Courtney and Brian Hare), has blistering sequences full of a mix of macho heat and competitiveness, though it could use some sharper overall focus.

Works by Dustyn Martincich, Valerie Alpert, Wilfredo Rivera, Brock Clawson and Carlos Gonzales also were on the program.

The remaining "New Moves" performances are at 3 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Two "Director's Choice: New Moves" programs (8 p.m. Nov. 17-18) will reprise the strongest works, as selected by Dance Chicago's artistic director John Schmitz. For more information, call (773) 935-6860.

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hweiss@suntimes.com

© Copyright 2006 Sun-Times News Group

 
 
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