A normal sort of damage | Dance Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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A normal sort of damage

Human connectedness is a theme of "Ground Effect"

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No one lives in a vacuum. That's the obvious yet infinitely complex fact driving Vital Signs and Until I Connect With Another—the two new pieces choreographer Colleen Halloran is preparing for "Ground Effect," a concert that also features work by Liz Burritt and Paige Cunningham Caldarella. Halloran says that the trio Vital Signs looks at what happens when you put "damaged people—damaged in the normal way that everybody is—body to body." Philip Elson, Dardi McGinley Gallivan, and Maria Macsay capture all the intensity of the emotionally freighted choreography, essentially forming a love triangle that may be romantic or familial—it's agonizing to watch the push/pull dynamics of their interactions. Tony Ingram's understated, gently poignant sound design (birdcalls, machines working, an indistinctly heard love song by the Chantels) evokes the everyday.

Until I Connect With Another is a "dance for the [video] camera," a duet performed at the lakefront, in a car, amid construction, and elsewhere around the city. Burritt's new quartet, Brink, deals with the "emotional roller coaster" she's been riding as a young mom. And Caldarella is reworking two dances: One is a duet about disguising physical effort; originally developed with Darrell Jones The Waning, it's now called Training Ground. The other is Wrecked, a quartet that examines the stoic suffering of outcasts.

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