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Dance Tue Jan 24 2012

Review: danc(e)volve: New Works Festival

HSD110921_224.JPG

Hubbard Street 2 dancer Alicia Delgadillo in Clébio Oliveira's The Fantastic Escape of the Little Buffalo. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

Johnny McMillan and Emilie Leriche are stars. This proclamation is not said lightly, but after much consideration watching the two perform in Alejandro Cerrudo's Never was and Clébio Oliveira's The Fantastic Escape of the Little Buffalo, two works shown during Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's danc(e)volve: New Works Festival, co-presented by the MCA Stage.

Cerrudo, Hubbard Street's resident choreographer, created a sharp, sleek, and physically-demanding seven minute work that requires the strength and visually-arresting physicality of only the most talented of dancers. McMillan and Leriche both faced the challenge head-on, performing a deep and rich duet that leaves audiences in awe.

Never was is a fascination or near-obsession with the body and the ways in which we can challenge and manipulate it. Both dancers were compelling with movements that appeared angry with power at certain times. The loud, forceful breaths of Leriche during moments of silence in the music were a type of address and recognition of the strength and purpose of dance as a whole and the performance in particular.

Later, the two performed with fellow company members Alicia Delgadillo, Nicholas Korkos, Felicia McBride, and Andrew Wright in Oliveira's The Fantastic Escape of the Little Buffalo. During the creation of the piece, Oliveira asked, "When do humans become animals and when do animals become humans?" This question eventually led to a work that is provocative, disturbing, yet quite brilliant. The movements by each dancer were powerful, glitchy, and arresting in their exactitude.

The progression of the dance had a competitive angle, as the forces of more traditional dance forms worked in kind with anti-dance like gestures. At times, it appeared as if the dancers faced a loss of control of their limbs and were overtaken by other dark or internal forces. As a visual statement for the moment when humans become animalistic and lose their sense of higher reason, Oliveira's work succeeded in all regards.

Other standout performances as part of the festival included Hubbard Street dancer and choreographer Alice Klock's ... and other stories of imperfection, and Taryn Kashock Russell's (Director of Hubbard Street 2) Facets of the Same. In Klock's ... and other stories of imperfection, dancers Korkos and Leriche performed a metamorphic opener of energy and emotions as they overwhelm the body. Incorporating minimalist scores by Clint Mansell and Max Richter, Klock's work transforms personal history and memory into poetic physical gestures.

Kashock Russell's Facets of the Same appeared as the more playful and thematic story of the evening, drawing the audience into a tale of the individual as driven by varying forces. Dancers Klock, Kellie Epperheimer, David Schultz, Garret Anderson, and Pablo Piantino brought individual charm. Each performer's movements coupled with the costumes were reminiscent of painter Robert Longo's "Men in the Cities" series of businessmen and women in contorted, emotionally-driven gestures. Such gestures appeared to be a common thread during the festival, creating a cohesive gathering of works by choreographer's with varying influences and perspectives.

--

danc(e)volve: New Works Festival continues from January 26 - 29 at the MCA Stage at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Additional works were choreographed by Jonathan Fredrickson, Johnny McMillan, Terence Marling (rehearsal director), and Robyn Mineko Williams. 2011 National Choreographic Competition winner Penny Saunders is also scheduled to premiere a new work.

The MCA Stage is located at 220 East Chicago. Performances begin at 7:30pm and tickets are available for $35 (a limited quantity of $10 student tickets are also available). Tickets can be purchased through the MCA Box Office at mcachicago.org or by phone at 312-397-4010, or through the Hubbard Street Box Office at hubbardstreetdancechicago.com or by phone at 312-850-9744.

 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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