Best Outré Dance

Blushing Poppy Productions

Critics' Picks

blushingpoppy.org

To some folks—like the lunkheads who scorn men in tights but couldn't do a barrel turn if their lives depended on it—all dance is weird. But whatever oddity they might see in, say, ballet, butoh goes way beyond it. Early practitioners of the form, born of the anger and despair of post-WWII Japan, painted their bodies chalk-white and were inspired by the likes of Jean Genet and the Marquis de Sade. But Chicago's prime practitioner—Nicole LeGette of Blushing Poppy Productions—manages to shift the "dance of darkness" into a celebration of humanity in all its incarnations, including the cosmic comic bumble. Her DisRuptureEnrapture included a militaristic male corps wearing wicker-basket helmets and puffy shorts, whose "fierce" barking belied their inner slumber-partiers. But LeGette didn't neglect the dark, lonely places either, especially in her own portrayal of an elderly, untransformed Cinderella. That's how I saw her, anyway—butoh is famously difficult to pin down. Plunging her audiences into a visual and aural wonderland, LeGette invites viewers to play.