Chance Dance Fest | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Chance Dance Fest



Bob Eisen's new dance is a big, gorgeous thing with wildly varied patterns repeated just often enough to provide a sense of structure and stability. But that's an illusion: though Eisen choreographed ten sections for each of the piece's six dancers (including himself), the order in which they're performed changes nightly according to a random drawing. Most of the piece is set to a Sonic Youth version of a John Cage composition that's sometimes as loud and cacophonous as the el overhead and sometimes as gentle as a faraway train whistle; the mood shifts constantly as the dancers go through their paces, whether it's a delicate run forward, toes dragging, hands daintily holding an imaginary skirt, or a manic dash into one of the famous Link's Hall closets for some costume piece (sunglasses, fake fur, milkmaid's bonnet, little shiny red shopping bag) that's just as quickly discarded. A piece like this relies on the dancers' precise articulation of phrases that may have little or no continuity; these performers meet the challenge brilliantly in choreography that can be as blunt as a fall forward onto the palms or as wistful and small as a wave good-bye. Billed as "the last chance" Chance Dance Fest, this is Bob Eisen's final gig in the August festival he started in 1990--he's moving to New York in September. (In a farewell performing orgy, Eisen also offers his fully improvised Saturday-afternoon solos, accompanied by Fish, at Link's Hall every Saturday in August at 3; $3 includes homemade cookies and iced tea after the show.) Eisen's dance will be shown every night of the monthlong festival; guest artists are Selene Carter and Sheldon B. Smith (August 2), Fred Lonberg-Holm (August 9), Frank Melcori (August 16), Nana Shineflug (August 23), and Greg Allen (August 30). Wednesdays at 8 through August 30 at Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield, Chicago; $5. Call 773-281-0824 for tickets and information. --Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Stacy Nigrelli.

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