Butterflies and Spiders | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Butterflies and Spiders

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Emergence Dance Theatre is an anomaly in an anomalous discipline--a postmodern company that, like many these days, straddles the boundaries of performance art, time art, and dance yet does not have a liberal agenda--here art for art's sake rules. Imagine, program notes without pedantic explanations of the philosophy, the meanings and sources, the Marcusian or Freudian discourse, and the raison d'etre of the company or its members. Their work is unabashedly beautiful too, sometimes sentimental and sweet but never cloying. Emergence integrates film and slides with the choreography, which gives its work a monumental, almost epic look at times; but the dancing (very Merce Cunningham, very much "good old modern") gives the pieces immediacy, vulnerability, and humanity. On film the movements are magnified and almost deified, but the presence of a sweating, breathing performer makes the same movements vital and real. These compositions are like haiku: small, well structured, and gentle. Organic Theater Company, 3319 N. Clark, 327-5588 or 902-1500 (Ticketmaster). Saturday at 5, Sunday and Monday at 7, Tuesday at 8:30, next Saturday, June 24, at 5, and next Sunday, June 25, at 7. $10.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Gordon Means.

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