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Dance Thu Mar 08 2012

Dance Theater Receives an Upgrade

Receiver1web.jpgJesse Coffelt and Rachel Damon, Synapse Arts; Erica Mott; Megan Schneeberger, Allyson Esposito, and Anne Kasdorf, The Space/Movement Project. Photos by Carl Weideman; composite created by Dan Mohr.

Rachel Damon wants you to know that dance theater is a different thing than just a dance company. She's not insinuating that one is less than the other, but for more than a year, she has garnered unanswered questions about the role each type plays for it's audience.

"I'm trying to find my way as to what my dance theater looks like," Damon said on a recent Friday afternoon.

Damon will join choreographer Erica Mott and the The Space/Movement Project for Receiver, an evening of three performances that provide different approaches to theatricality within contemporary dance. Damon, the Artistic Director of Synapse Arts, premieres Without Pause, a dance-theater performance focusing on the interaction of live sound (by percussionist Frank Rosaly), water, and motion.

The creation of Without Pause began in late November and although audiences will get to view this highly visual (and palpable) work, Damon notes that the work is constantly evolving.

"It feels like a starting place more than an ending place," Damon began. "I work in a laboratory way in which I show a piece and work on it again. I think we're a third of the way into what it could be."

At it's core, Without Pause explores what is natural about the human relationship to water. Damon first approached Rosalie about working with water and Rosalie produced multiple ideas that affected Damon's choreographic process, including dipping his instruments in water to create a clean, tonal sound.

"I work in a laboratory way in which I show a piece and work on it again. I think we're a third of the way into what it could be," said Damon. "That sensation that ritual of any kind, where you just know what to do because you've seen it before or it's been passed down, or some impulse tells you what to do next ... a lot of the impulse came from the sound."

The manipulation of movements for the dancers ultimately circles back to her initial questions about performance, dance, and theater.

"Having water in this piece makes for a lot of immediate moments where you have to manage your soaking wet limbs and a slippery floor as opposed to learning choreography and replicating it in front of an audience," she said.

Dance is rooted in the placement of the dancer and how rooted (and not rooted) they are to their performance space. It is about control and power of both one's body and their placement in the performance environment. Water then creates another challenge, an unknown obstacle, and a visually exciting uncommon show for audiences.


Receiver premieres tonight, March 8, at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago (1306 South Michigan Ave.) and runs through March 10. Performances begin at 8pm and tickets run from $26 - $30. A special FamilyDance Matinee takes place on Saturday, March 10 at 3pm and is preceded by a workshop at 2:15pm. This event is free for children younger than 12 and $15 for adults. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 312-369-8330 or online.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

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By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
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Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

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