Instruments of Movement | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Instruments of Movement

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Founded by artistic director James Morrow four years ago, Instruments of Movement uses an eclectic mix of music and dance styles to explore--well, whatever the company feels like. A year ago, in Lifted, it was the Christ story; last May it was jazz great Chet Baker. This program focuses on male-female relationships. Ruff Side of the Smoothness, by Morrow and assistant artistic director Raphaelle Ziemba with Becca Lemme, is a new piece for five couples. It begins on a giddy note with a crowd of high schoolers dancing to Kool & the Gang and appears to end with a single couple, the man lying facedown on the floor and the woman powerless, dancing around him frenetically to Elliott Smith's downbeat "Everything Means Nothing to Me." Then the piece briefly picks up again from the beginning--the structure is based on the seasons, Morrow says, and suggests the "recycling of love." In between spring and winter we hear De La Soul, Tom Waits, and Peter Gabriel; a high point of the dance is Paul Christiano's performance as a nerdy outsider desperate to bed someone. Morrow's duet The Flapper and the Quarterback, which premiered last summer at Ravinia, is based on a 1926 Ruth Page dance of the same title. After studying a video of the work, he took a few moments of sexual competition from Page's choreography and made that the basis for his entire dance. Play-by-play commentary by an unseen announcer adds to the humor of this slight, good-natured piece. Also on the program is Ziemba's Illustration 1, a three-dimensional embodiment of the 1986 French film Mauvais sang ("Bad Blood"). Parts of the film are projected during one section danced only by women, whose slow, deliberate, almost anguished motions are inescapably sexy. Fri-Sat 1/28-1/29, 8 PM, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, 312-337-6543, $15-$20, $10 for children under 8.

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