Georgina Martinez | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Georgina Martinez

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Cross-cultural explorers usually venture across space, whether the city or a continent. But Georgina Martinez is a time traveler who wants to rediscover the ancient dances of her native Mexico. Trained in contemporary dance forms, notably modern, Martinez is grounded, slow moving, attuned to her own rhythms: forget any thoughts you might have about high-heeled shoes and swirling skirts, Mexico's heritage from Spain. Martinez draws on whatever traces she can find of earlier forms--from the 16th century on, the conquistadors suppressed Mexico's native dance and music, so Martinez relies on Aztec codices, on the drawings and architecture of Mesoamerican culture. Recalling the natural surroundings of dances created by a people tied to the land, she scatters the stage with leaves, dirt, fruit. She dresses in rough textiles of natural fibers. And her dances look intuitive, often spasmodic. In Cuerpo colibri sediento ("My Body, a Thirsty Hummingbird"), she crouches, her back exposed to reveal all its delicate bones, and quivers and twitches like a child under an invisible whip. This former Chicagoan begins a residency at the Chicago Cultural Center, including workshops for dancers of various levels, with a solo performance next Thursday, September 15, at 5:30 in the theater of the Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; free. She closes it Sunday, September 25, at 1 with a joint performance and workshop with Bharatanatyam dancer Hema Rajagopalan in the Cultural Center's theater and dance studio; free. Call Hedwig Dances, 907-2192, for info.

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