Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Kast and Company

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Maggie Kast has been choreographing dances as striking as her long, prematurely white hair for 30 years. But after all this time she's still remarkable for her childlike sense of wonder, and the way she transfers this quality to her movements. Her work is also intriguing in its degree of variety; she packs her whole life into her dances, and the three dances on this program couldn't be more different.There's the lighthearted, postmodern piece with text, Dance Without Warm-Up; Kast created this all-purpose dance to be performed anywhere at a moment's notice: on the subway, in a neon-lit nightclub, in a dance studio, wherever. Ritual Play, on the other hand, is a site-specific piece, originally choreographed for the landmark Saint Thomas Apostle Church in Hyde Park, that Kast has adapted for the concert stage. When I first saw it, it seemed to fill the whole cavernous church with movement; dancing took place on ladders, in the aisles, on the balcony, at the altar. Vienna, inspired by Kast's stay there earlier in her life, is the most somber piece, with its evocative period costumes and set. Its heavy psychological message--saying good-bye to old entanglements and memories--is suffused with joyfulness, expressed in Patty Cake and other children's games the dancers play. Everything in the piece builds up to that moment of overbearing joy one feels when one is reconciled to old phobias, problems, memories--and in the final moments the dancers are defiant, ripping pages out of a newspaper and crumpling them, as if in doing so they are wiping out the events written on them. Friday and Saturday at 8 in the auditorium of the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State; $6-$8. Call 643-8916 for tickets and information.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/William Frederking.

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