Dancing Across State Lines | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Dancing Across State Lines

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Chicago's Zephyr Dance again shares a bill with an out-of-town company for its eighth annual "Dancing Across State Lines" program. Perhaps in keeping with the current mood of retrenchment, Zephyr has kept its own new offerings small: two solos, one by artistic director Michelle Kranicke and the other by associate artistic director Emily Stein, who said of her piece, "I started out with a lot of big ideas, but it ended up being just about moving." Her Actual Size is a quirky, charming meditation that plays off its romantic music, a piece for piano and violin by Dvorak. Marked by small, deliberate gestures, Stein's solo (which she dances herself) resembles a physics experiment investigating weight and momentum--but her delicate, acerbic moves offer a satisfying counterpoint to the swells in the music. Kranicke has set her solo, Songs of the Inner Ear, to a piece by the Soviet Army Chorus & Band, whose music she first heard as a child. But though she does scatter confetti that looks like snow, she has no wish to evoke a Russian winter, she says. Often balancing and hovering in this piece, she looks like someone trying to come to terms with a new idea, like a Henry James character at the point of seeing her world as it truly is. The visiting team is KDNY--an all-female group like Zephyr Dance--headed by Kathleen Dyer and based in New York. They'll perform a new quartet to cello music, Retreating Roans, and East Wistwaddle Ladies, "a lighthearted portrayal of what the ladies of a sleepy town do with their dreams and secrets." Zephyr will also perform Kranicke's Wander Through (Thursday and Saturday) and Stein's Niagara Mind (Friday). Duncan YMCA Chernin Center for the Arts, 1001 W. Roosevelt, 312-902-1500 or 312-421-7800. Opens Thursday, November 15, 8 PM. Through November 17: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $16 ($18 at the door).

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