Hedwig Dances | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
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Multimedia approaches to dance theater inform the two new works on Hedwig Dances' spring program. Artistic associate Peter Sciscioli's Last April is literally layered: the dancers emerge in hats and overcoats, then shed their clothes over the course of the piece. Dance, music, and recorded and recited texts are set against a backdrop of film projections suggesting spring: images of snow and azaleas, close-ups of pollen and grains, rain in slow motion. The dancers at first seem travelers, perhaps refugees from another time, and the text describes the long-ago relationships of husbands and wives, perhaps the grandparents of these performers. Gentle and evocative, the piece uses simple actions--playing a violin, hanging up a coat--to suggest the intimate details of lives lived in the unreachable past. Artistic director Jan Bartoszek offers Ache of the Arc, a quintet meant to contrast the human capacities for kindness and cruelty. It features set pieces (a wall and two walls that form a corner) to create a sort of room within the performing space; the performers dance on ladders and between sections of a ladder laid out on the floor. Also on the program is a 20th-anniversary revival of Charlie Vernon's Dances of Many Lands, a sweet-natured piece with text that rather unaccountably uses such forms as the pony and the swim to explore the universal nature of dance. The group will also perform Renee Wadleigh's Opus 38, premiered last year, a work in four sections each set to vastly different music. Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-344-8300; 773-871-0872 for gala tickets. Opens Thursday, April 18, 8 PM. Through April 20: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $20. Note: Tickets to the Saturday company benefit are $75 and include a reception at 6 PM.

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

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