New York manufacturer of fine dance apparel for women and girls. Click here to see a sample of our products and a
list of web sites for purchasing.
With Body Wrappers it's always performance at its best.
Go back to Flash Reviews
3, 11-27: Chicago Currents
What's New in Dance in the Windy City
By Emily Moellman
Copyright 2002 Emily Moellman
CHICAGO -- Dance Chicago,
the annual festival celebrating this city's premiere companies and
choreographers, featured a range of programs for all tastes this
month at the Athenaeum Theatre. The eclectic grouping of choreography
was most visible in two New Dances programs featuring a sampling
of work by numerous artists.
New Dances opened November
8 with a hearty serving of Latin hospitality, compliments of Latin
contemporary dance company Luna Negra. Gustavo Ramirez Sansano's
"Flabbergast" slowly filled the space with one and then two women
in colorful, flowing, patterned dresses, followed by men in trousers
and shirts, all to building rhythms reminiscent of Cuban nightclubs
in the 1950s. The piece ended with a glorious screen of iridescent
beads, behind which the full company danced and sang, their inhibitions
lost in its intoxicating blend of pink, purple and rainbow. It was
a delight to see the exuberance of the company's movement match
the choreographer's apparent passion for color and energy.
The program continued
with a departure, the performance art piece "Lil Bo Peepshow," created
and presented by Links Hall performer Mathew Hollis. In the loosely
constructed work, Hollis told the story of a boy living a life of
worry and panic, employing spastic gestures, pantomime, and spoken
word to describe the poor boy's attacks and longing for relief.
Glass House Dance opened
the second act with its impressive apparatus work, "Ashes." Performed
as a series of lifts between a male dancer attached to a six-foot
tall ladder-like prop anchored to the floor and his sinewy-strong
female partner, "Ashes" displayed beauty in strength. The audience
watched in awe as the woman hovered effortlessly only inches above
the floor, dangling from the man's neck, then seamlessly moved to
wrap her body around his chest.
The November 14 New
Dances program also featured a great variety of works, highlighted
by the premiere of Lisa Johnson-Willingham's "Lush" on the talented
Hubbard Street 2. The former Alvin Ailey dancer's work was selected
through the Choreography Project, a new addition to the Dance Chicago
festival. The latest effort by the festival to foster new work,
the project gives five of Chicago's brightest choreographic talents
the opportunity to set their works on dancers from the Joffrey Ballet
of Chicago, River North Dance Company, and Hubbard Street 2. The
project provides rehearsal space and other funding for the choreographer.
Johnson-Willingham used the opportunity to make a simple trio exploring
the nuances of sensuality and seduction in the relationships created
between two women and one man. The clean technique of Hubbard Street
2 complemented Johnson-Willingham's smooth, fluid style, and cross-lighting
in fog created a dramatic backdrop for this lovely movement.
Seen on the same program,
Paul Christiano's large ensemble piece, "Miracle, Interrupted,"
performed by Melissa Thodos and Dancers, transported us into the
fascinating world of sign language. Set to the music of Vivaldi,
the work's sign language seemed cryptic yet incredibly inclusive.
The partnering, patterns, and floor work created complex little
pockets of movement and signing.
The program concluded
with the Harrison McEldowney's fully entertaining "A Brief History
of Dance." A large screen introduced the work with projected text
scrolling up it, a la "Star Wars": "Since the dawn of time, man
has the urge to do something more with his life... to turn out."
The work continued with more playful pokes at the evolution of dance.
McEldowney took his audience on a whirlwind refresher course through
dance history, moving from French court dancing to the Puritans
to the death of Isadora Duncan. The work lost a little of its momentum
during a battle scene between Jazz and Ballet, but was revived during
the last section. The piece ended with a moving attempt to display
the heart of all dancing, its feeling and artistry. Set to a stirring
rendition of the "Porgy and Bess" ballad "Summertime," sung by various
artists mixed into one flowing complete version, this final section
summed up all forms of dance as a medium for expression and style.
What style McEldowney prefers is hard to tell; "Summertime" enveloped
several slightly different styles of contemporary movement. And
the expression he was going for? Maybe he was just expressing his
love of all dance.
Emily Moellman is a Chicago-based dancer and writer who has previously
contributed to the Village Voice.
Go back to Flash Reviews