Hayride | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Choreographer Deborah Hay is a true original, the kind of person who looks so deeply into the origins of her art that she can sound a little unhinged. Chicago dancer Robbie Cook, who performs her solo Music as part of this concert, says Hay describes the work as "an exploration of form and formlessness on a cellular level." A member of the Judson Church movement in New York--she participated in the first concert there, in 1962, with a piece called Rain Fur (Yvonne Rainer recalled her "hobbling around with something around her knees")--Hay has for the last 40 years eschewed the usual dance structures and focus on technique. Her No. 3, performed in 1966, involved three people who toppled and dragged three stacks of bricks while Hay ran in circles around them. Known for her large group works in the late 60s and early 70s, Hay gave her first solo performance in 1976 (the same year she moved to Austin, Texas, where she lives still) and, heavily influenced by tai chi, has concentrated on solo work ever since, both for herself and others. Music comes with a set of written instructions that the performer interprets; in a version on tape, Cook gives it at times a Gene Kelly-ish insouciance, at other times an almost scary intensity. Also on the program is Chicagoan Julia Mayer in The Other Side of "O", which she commissioned with ten other dancers from Hay in 1998, and Scott Heron (a longtime New York resident who currently lives in rural Tennessee, where he "dances, gardens, and performs with the Eggplant Faerie Players") in Hay's Exit and his own Whack, which playfully reflects on his relationship of nearly 20 years with the choreographer. Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield, 773-281-0824. Through March 16: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $12.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Erika Dufour.

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