Hedwig Dances | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Hedwig Dances artistic director Jan Bartoszek has a sure feel for psychological truths, apparent in her two pieces on the company's spring program, "In the Absence of Restraint." The I Depend on Tango, first performed in 1989, uses large rag dolls as emotionally ambivalent representatives of the dependency produced by love, while the more recent duet After the Fall, Desire shows a man and woman at first totally involved in something outside themselves--the fruit that will give them knowledge--then in themselves, and finally in each other. Bartoszek may specialize in almost pretty gestures for the hands and feet, but there's nothing easy about her view of human nature or about the partnering in this piece, which is amazingly performed. Also on the program is the company premiere of Renee Wadleigh's Opus 38, a dance for seven in four sections, each completely different from the others in music and movement; one section, set to a love song by Sinead O'Connor, features two women stepping carefully on blocks aided by two men slithering across the floor, and another counters the cheerful angst of a John Lee Hooker blues with frolicksome, bounding movement. Company members have choreographed two new pieces for this concert: artistic associate Peter Sciscioli offers the edgy quintet Subterfuge, inspired by a newspaper photo of the conflict in Israel, and in How Do You Feel? Lisa Wymore explores Freud's pleasure principle, at times comically (in the section set to James Brown's "It's a Man's World," the two performers cavort disaffectedly on a mattress). Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 312-902-1500. Through April 7: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $10-$15. Note: A company benefit Friday costs $50, which includes the show and a postperformance reception; 773-871-0872.

--Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Eileen Ryan Photography.

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