Sex sells: it's an advertising cliche that spans an abyss, the one between our animal and higher natures. Dance straddles the same abyss--but unlike advertising, its treatments of sex can serve a variety of purposes. Sure, some sexy dance merely sells the show. But other times it puts us in the hot seat, squirming as we regard our own divided selves. On one program of the monthlong Dance Chicago '98 festival, the Anatomical Theatre performs Robynne M. Gravenhorst's duet 69, a compendium of various sexual positions garnered from a century-old advice book; Gravenhorst's purpose is to examine the "hygienic rituals surrounding sex," not only in the late 19th century but today. (See "Breaking Boundaries" listing for the full lineup.) Xsight! Performance Group has built its reputation on witty, often disturbing meditations on sex and nudity; on another Dance Chicago '98 program it premieres Valentine, a collaborative "ritual of avoided words and fleeting actions" for the troupe's four core dancers plus avant-garde chanteuse Sara Kraft. The lineup for "Forward Motion" (see listing for complete roster) also includes a piece by Jason Ohlberg of Same Planet Different World, Venus, that looks at sex and social structures through the lens of the insect world. I can't guarantee every piece on these programs will be thought-provokingly sexual, but these three ought to be squirm inducing. "Breaking Boundaries" opens Thursday, October 15, and repeats Thursday, October 29, at 7:30; "Forward Motion" opens Friday at 8 and repeats Wednesday at 7:30 and Saturday, October 24, at 8. At the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport; $15. Call 312-902-1500 for tickets, 773-935-6860 for information, including Dance Chicago '98 subscriptions.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Forward Motion photo by Paul Elledge.