FordSaliba Dance Ensemble | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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FordSaliba Dance Ensemble

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Even fledgling dance makers like Sarah Ford and Gabrielle Saliba, who recently started their own company, have choreographic casts of mind. Ford's is distinctly musical: her taste is good, and she sings the counts when giving the dancers their notes during a rehearsal. Her Prey, for three women and one man, is based on contrast: she sets balletic, often pretty movements--pas de bourree, fluttering hands--against the Mahavishnu Orchestra's druggy, free-form music. The five women in her Tula Tree, inspired by the trees that are the centers of Oaxacan village life, sometimes suggest a trunk and leaves, sometimes the funky moves in an urban nightclub, but they always play off the Freddie Hubbard score, adding a layer of earthy femininity. Saliba's sensibility is more dramatic, geared to stories and the shapes that will convey them. Her You Made Me Funny, set to spoken-word music by Abbey Lincoln, is not at all funny: it addresses what it feels like to be abused and the victim's possible responses, whether evidenced in a shaky arabesque or a kick to the ribs. Roxie--set to the Moulin Rouge song one reviewer described as a "Spanish-flavoured brutally-butchered version of Sting's 'Roxanne'"--features dancing that's half enticing, half confrontational or ironic; the movements are as operatic as the music. Still, there's something good-naturedly innocent even about Saliba's occasional heavy-handedness. Also on the program, "Temperments," are two pieces using young dancers from the Hyde Park School of Ballet. Harold Washington Library Center, auditorium, 400 S. State, 773-793-7377 or 773-550-0952. Through February 9: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $15.

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