Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

FordSaliba Dance Ensemble



Even fledgling dance makers like Sarah Ford and Gabrielle Saliba, who recently started their own company, have choreographic casts of mind. Ford's is distinctly musical: her taste is good, and she sings the counts when giving the dancers their notes during a rehearsal. Her Prey, for three women and one man, is based on contrast: she sets balletic, often pretty movements--pas de bourree, fluttering hands--against the Mahavishnu Orchestra's druggy, free-form music. The five women in her Tula Tree, inspired by the trees that are the centers of Oaxacan village life, sometimes suggest a trunk and leaves, sometimes the funky moves in an urban nightclub, but they always play off the Freddie Hubbard score, adding a layer of earthy femininity. Saliba's sensibility is more dramatic, geared to stories and the shapes that will convey them. Her You Made Me Funny, set to spoken-word music by Abbey Lincoln, is not at all funny: it addresses what it feels like to be abused and the victim's possible responses, whether evidenced in a shaky arabesque or a kick to the ribs. Roxie--set to the Moulin Rouge song one reviewer described as a "Spanish-flavoured brutally-butchered version of Sting's 'Roxanne'"--features dancing that's half enticing, half confrontational or ironic; the movements are as operatic as the music. Still, there's something good-naturedly innocent even about Saliba's occasional heavy-handedness. Also on the program, "Temperments," are two pieces using young dancers from the Hyde Park School of Ballet. Harold Washington Library Center, auditorium, 400 S. State, 773-793-7377 or 773-550-0952. Through February 9: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $15.

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