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Compagnie TcheTche

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Those who follow dance are obsessed with bloodlines--it's assumed that one person's movement style can infiltrate another's body. When Compagnie TcheTche appeared at Montreal's international dance festival in 1999, New York Times reviewer Anna Kisselgoff noted the connections this all-female Ivory Coast company has to the modern-dance world: artistic director Beatrice Kombe has worked with Mathilde Monnier, and Monnier's mentor was Viola Farber, Merce Cunningham's former partner. Now, as part of the AfroContempo Festival, Compagnie TcheTche makes its Chicago debut with Kombe's Geeme, a duet said to have been "ignited by the waste of war." I found that theme difficult to discern in the excerpts I watched on tape, but the choreography's clean abstraction and the dancers' solidity and fierceness were obvious: tchetche means "eagle," and the comparison seems apt. Occasionally the piece suggests traditional African dance--what I thought was percussion early on was actually the quick beating of the two dancers' feet on the floor--but overall the shapes, rhythms, and strong, intimate partnering are modern. Geeme represents a unique opportunity to witness the ongoing cross-fertilization of cultures in our ever shrinking world. Opens Thu 3/17, 8 PM. Through 3/19: Fri-Sat, 8 PM, Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-344-8300, $20-$24. Note: Two documentaries about African dance are being screened Wed 3/16 at 7:30 PM at the Columbia Film and Video Center, 1104 S. Wabash; free to ticket holders. Performers conduct a postperformance discussion Thursday, and Dr. Joan Frosh gives a talk at 7 PM Friday; both events are free to ticket holders. Also, company members conduct a master class Sat 3/19 at 2 PM at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln; $15. Reservations are recommended; call 312-344-8300.

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