There's nothing pure about "pure" dance: when it's done well it produces plenty of thoughts and feelings in the viewer, opening up to the imagination vast new territories. Somehow pure dance frees us to see all the nuances of the movement, which can be obscured by plot, characters, even ideas that are too muscular. Marie Chouinard--an award-winning Canadian choreographer who's been making dances, primarily for herself, since 1979--has rethought Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps and given it a visceral new abstract form. Bathed in pools of light that create razor-sharp shadows, the members of her small company perform mostly alone in movement that sometimes recalls Balinese dance, sometimes Nijinsky's bounding choreography to the same music, and sometimes Martha Graham, given the pelvic contractions, exotic costumes and makeup, and broken, thorny lines. Chouinard, perhaps aided by her ability to see auras, gives each dancer a distinctive style, yet the movement never becomes monotonous. Of course Stravinsky's dynamic music helps. "April is the cruelest month," T.S. Eliot wrote, and both Chouinard's dance and Stravinsky's music force us to recognize the brutality and violence of birth. Chouinard may believe in auras, but there's nothing pretty, nice, easy, or new age about this piece. Filling out the program is her 1987 solo L'apres-midi d'un faune. Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30 at the Shubert Theatre, 22 W. Monroe; $15-$30. Call 902-1500 for tickets and info.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Marie Chouinard.