33 Fainting Spells | Dance Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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33 Fainting Spells

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Brainy and surreal, the evening-length September September has a homemade look and sound. No one seems to care if unison movement is truly in unison, and the dancers often seem to be flung around by outside forces. A recording of clippity-clop noises at first synchronizes with the four performers' steps--but when they shift into a soft-shoe routine, the clippity-clopping continues. What makes this project by the Seattle-based 33 Fainting Spells so arch is its goofy, almost conspiratorial self-conscious artificiality. A breakfast scene is accompanied not by continuous birdsong but by a recording of chirping birds that cuts in and out. Tables and chairs are rearranged to suggest desks or a formal dinner--presided over by a man in a red tailcoat and horse's head. The three women, wearing shaggy red evening gowns, emerge from beneath the table to shiver and shake neurotically, then raise their glasses and laugh and talk in the most congenial way. The voice-over text suggests we're witnessing the apocalyptic end of a dysfunctional family. The group's name is also self-consciously theatrical, arcane, and a little silly: the two (unrelated) women who started the troupe--Dayna Hanson and Gaelen Hanson--were referring to the fact that Russian theater director Vsevolod Meyerhold supposedly counted the number of fainting spells in a Chekhov short-story collection. Also performing are Peggy Piacenza and John Dixon; the original score is by Kyle Hanson of the Black Cat Orchestra. Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-344-8300. Opens Thursday, May 10, 8 PM. Through May 12: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $20. Note: The company will offer a class on the art of object manipulation Saturday, May 12, at 12:30 PM at Holstein Park, 2200 N. Oakley; $15.

>Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Peter Mumford.

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