Koosil-ja/DanceKumiko Critic's Choice Member Picks New Review (Theater and Comedy) Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Feb. 4-6 2010

Japan-born choreographer Koosil-ja studied with Merce Cunningham when she moved to New York in 1981, and his influence is written all over the piece her company is performing for its Chicago debut. But the new, hour-long Blocks of Continuality/Body, Image, and Algorithm makes Cunningham’s unpretty, unmusical work look positively mainstream. The first of three performances in the Dance Center's Science, Technology and Dance series (coming up: Troika Ranch, March 4-6, and Wayne McGregor/Random Dance, March 18–20), Koosil-ja's collaboration with media artists and electronic musicians uses Wii technology to explore the potential of interaction between digitized and live bodies. In the early sections, three onstage dancers watching banks of video screens mix and match the actions of the people on them; later they develop digitized avatars. The matter-of-fact movement is casually performed for the most part, lacking the polish that Cunningham's company gives his contorted choreography. But the Koosil-ja dancers' repetitions and focus prove mesmerizing--often despite the accompanying sounds (including, most annoying of all, a grinding, guttural scream of the same unintelligible words over and over). Definitely a challenge, Blocks of Continuality pays off in conceptual appeal and eerie beauty. --Laura Molzahn

Price: $24-$28

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