Jan Bartoszek's The Story's Body is a lovingly made dance about love--the love of books. The soloist who opens the piece is as focused on her book as any lover could be on the object of her affection; it's the center of her universe, the single point around which she literally revolves. Later three other dancers, two men and a woman, join her, and their rhapsodic dancing expresses in almost 19th-century fashion the way books can transport us. The movement, which is all about support and propulsion, glides along on four arias, marking the piece's four sections, by Bellini, Lehar, Donizetti, and Offenbach. As usual, Bartoszek makes excellent use of props, particularly a jumbled line of books on the floor that brings two dancers into cozy proximity; the final section, in which a dancer uses books as stepping-stones, is ingenious but a little awkward, though it closes with a moving image of what I take to be a parent passing on a love of books to a child. Also on this program, "Dancing by Heart," are a new work by Bartoszek, To Sleep, to Dream, set to an original score by Ralph Covert; her Sweet Baby, Baby Suite, made for her daughter, Sophia; and company member Joan Pangilinan-Taylor's For Better or for Worse, about a neurotic relationship. Friday and next Saturday, March 13, at 8 and Sunday, March 21, at 3 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport; $10-$12 in advance ($50 for the benefit Friday, including a postshow reception), $16 at the door for the evening performances. Call 312-902-1500 for tickets, 773-871-0872, ext. 2, for benefit tickets and information, including group rates. (There will also be a free miniperformance Wednesday at 12:15 in the dance studio of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; call 773-871-0872, ext. 2, for information.) --Laura Molzahn
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Eileen Ryan.