Chicago Human Rhythm Project Critic's Choice Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: May 29-31 2009

Tap-focused CHRP returns to the form's roots in "Windy City Rhythms Goes Global," featuring Brazilian troupe Barbatuques among others. Barbatuques's body slaps and stomping recall juba, the ingenious music-dance of American slaves, with a percussive symphony built on the different sounds of clapping--hands to hands, thighs, chest, belly, and face. Barbatuques also incorporates a huge variety of mouth noises, including little farting sounds, fist-flute whistling, scatlike vocalizing, finger-to-lips flubbering, barking, crowing, hissing, ululation, even singing. And wordless comedy is also part of the company's repertoire--especially from portly throat singer, rapper, and beatboxer extraordinaire Marcelo Pretto. An audience-interactive segment is more subtle than the usual Stomp!-esque clap-along: crescendos and diminuendos of chest slapping sound like gusty wind, and clapping with just one finger on the opposite palm, or with palms only, is a mass expression of flamenco's palmas technique. Barbatuques (which had to cancel an appearance here last November because of visa issues) uses feet to establish a steady rhythm while the other performers on the program-- Emmy-winning tapper Jason Samuels Smith, and CHRP's resident ensemble BAM!--embroider on the beat. --Laura Molzahn

Price: $35

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