Garth Fagan Dance | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Garth Fagan Dance

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Garth Fagan marries a subtle, offbeat sense of rhythm to the clean, extended lines of ballet and comes up with the dance equivalent of jazz music, at once cerebral and soulful, broken and elegant--his dancers' often spiky, jabbing limbs and occasional druggy slowness almost seem to embody the jazz scores he so often uses. It's no wonder that several years ago Fagan and Wynton Marsalis struck up a friendship, which produced in late 1991 this evening-length collaboration called Griot New York. Here again Fagan is marrying disparate traditions--a griot is a West African storyteller, a keeper of history, and we all know what New York is--and again the results are intriguing. Sculptor Martin Puryear was enlisted to create the set pieces, among them a huge hoe and a giant chain, and Fagan set out to explore different sides of city life as well as their back-country origins. With "City Court Dance" serving not only as a court dance, with all the stateliness and constriction of a society ruled by protocol, but also as a mating ritual with a duet at its center, and with the bit in "High Rise Riff" for three stumblebums who resemble droopy Swan Lake cygnets, Griot New York gives us subliminal glimpses of dance both popular and classical. Wednesday through next Saturday, May 14, at 8 at the Shubert Theatre, 22 W. Monroe; $10-$35. Call 902-1500 for tickets and info. Opening-night postperformance party at Andy's jazz club, 11 E. Hubbard, is $60, including cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and priority seating. Call 663-1628 for information.

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