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Dance gets cerebral in 'Laws of Motion'

The Seldoms and Ayako Kato explore global warming and chaos theory as part of the Pivot Arts Festival.

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Dance has an implicit physics dancers grok mostly through kinetic ingenuity; the irresistible joy of dance hails from bodies pushing physical principles to their extreme. "Laws of Motion"—part of this year's Pivot Arts Festival, themed "Art Meets Science"—takes a more cerebral approach.

The Seldoms' Exit Disclaimer: Science and Fiction Ahead focuses on the blindness and hypocrisy that surrounds the global warming crisis. Low movements in short spurts, dancers stomping and pumping vigorously side to side, caricature our unwillingness to adopt habits that are more ecologically sound. A dancer in a NASA tee shrewdly represents technological advancement in its marketable everyday forms, and after all six performers change into white costumes, they're chilling as lab scientists or annunciating angels, arms and pointing forefingers shooting in front of their torsos to prophesy the future in a gesture that means "Look out!"

On the same program, Ayako Kato and Art Union Humanscape's "Incidents" series applies chaos theory—the study of predictable systems that are unknowable in practice, due to small errors in measured initial conditions that send large shudders through the equations—as a choreographic idea. Incidents I uses dancers as a metaphor for meteorology. Incidents II has an eddying, fluid magic as Kato, Precious Jennings, and Jessica Marasa trace rippling, soothing patterns on two figure eights. Sometimes the dancers come softly to a halt and pause to take a single breath; when they resume their meditative paces in the opposite direction, it's as if nothing and everything has changed.

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