Marie Chouinard adapts the page to the stage | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Marie Chouinard adapts the page to the stage

Her dance Mouvements was inspired by a book of figurative drawings by the poet-artist Henri Michaux.

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Some ideas that sound boring may turn out to be genius. In 2011, choreographer Marie Chouinard decided to translate the poet-artist Henri Michaux's Mouvements, a little book of vaguely figurative ink drawings, into dance—"word for word," as Compagnie Marie Chouinard's website puts it. The electrifying 35-minute result, Henri Michaux: Mouvements, is one-half of the Montreal troupe's upcoming program. Rough, spiky, staccato dancing—accompanied by open mouths, occasional head banging, and Louis Dufort's percussive score—liberates all the innate drama of Michaux's tidy, sensitive little marks.

Chouinard's Le Sacre du Printemps, last seen in Chicago in 1995, is the program's other half. Always drawn by myth and ritual, Chouinard created an incendiary 50-minute dance in 1993 to rival Vaslav Nijinsky's 1913 original; both are set to Igor Stravinsky's music, of course. Naked from the waist up, writhing and crawling and outfitted in horns and spikes that transform into talons, phalluses, and nipples, Chouinard's dancers exquisitely embody the cruel force of fecundity. On Sat 3/23, 2-5 PM, Chouinard herself will improvise in the MCA exhibition "Color Bind: The MCA's Collection in Black and White," adopting the role of prophet in her responses to gallery visitors. It's free with museum admission.

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