The assorted bonbons of the Seldoms' "Mix With Six" | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The assorted bonbons of the Seldoms' "Mix With Six"

Dancers become choreographers in a DIY showcase.


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For "Mix With Six," the Seldoms' first-ever company showcase, artistic director Carrie Hanson asked her dancers to step outside their comfort zones and choreograph. Five of the six did, with remarkably fine results. Two of them—like Hanson over the last several years—incorporate provocative spoken texts. Not surprisingly, these budding choreographers are good at it too, poking and prodding the psyche. Amanda McAlister's funny, emotionally spot-on duet, (I'm)barrassed, for instance, conflates two men into one who relives and reflects on shameful episodes. Meanwhile Damon D. Green tackles identity politics in his voguing-infused Optimism of the Antagonist, a duet flecked with insults: bitch, fag, fatty.

The text-free remainder of "Mix With Six" is nonetheless crystal clear. Javier Marchan Ramos's Himself [With You]—a spare, cool 2012 solo he calls a self-portrait—suggests that still waters run deep. Philip Elson describes his solo, Between Means and Ends, as depicting someone "between a rock and a hard place"—and incisive dancer Cara Sabin expertly captures that situation's tension and attempts at release. Finally, Bruce Ortiz's elegantly structured quartet, Moments After and Ahead, puts the dancers' individual and merging identities front and center.

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