comment

Hedwig Dances artistic director Jan Bartoszek offers a smorgasbord of five new dances by five choreographers on the troupe's spring program--and returns to the stage herself in company member Victor Alexander's Nunca Tarde ("Never Late"), a piece about a choreographer's journey from youth to maturity. Sometimes holding out her hand to people who don't see her, sometimes lovingly shadowed by another dancer who reaches longingly after her when she walks away, Bartoszek seems to alternate between being invisible and exerting a subtle, almost imperceptible influence. Bartoszek's own offering, What Lies Between, represents a spiritual journey. Mei-Kuang Chen dances the central role in a piece about the individual's relationship to her community, laced with gentle but evocative motifs--rolling heads together or across another's shoulders, standing and rotating in place, keeping one's eyes fixed on a loved one or the audience even if the head must turn upside down. Chen's comic Vibe, a trio, captures the mock aggression of youthful friendships, using facial expressions and gestures in a manner reminiscent of her native Taiwan, she says. Long Trip, by company member Maray Gutierrez, is the most overtly dramatic work; danced by her and Alexander (both emigres from Cuba), it revolves around the performers' gazes--at each other or into the distance, presumably at some threat. Tense and anxious, the dancing alternates between desperate togetherness and a kind of ricocheting apart. And Totem, by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor Renee Wadleigh, is a surprisingly stately dance suggesting the martial arts (at least in the beginning) set to didgeridoo music, which resembles buzzing insects thrillingly orchestrated. Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, 773-871-0872. Opens Thursday, May 8, 8 PM. Through May 10: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $15-$20. Note: A company benefit begins Saturday at 6 PM; $75 includes preperformance reception and postperformance party.

Add a comment