Luna Negra Dance Theater | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Luna Negra Dance Theater

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Luna Negra artistic director Eduardo Vilaro says he played a sort of trick on the two dancers who performed Late...After Siesta, premiered during this year's "Duets for My Valentine" show: he had them rehearse the dance very seriously. They were shocked when people laughed during the performance, but clearly Vilaro understood how to get the emotional ambiguity he wanted: he knew the dancers' complete commitment to their roles would make the couple's dysfunctional interactions both funny and horrifying. That attention to detail and intuition about what works also inform his choreography. His new piece for eight, Breath in Memory, draws on the vocabulary of various Latin forms, including flamenco, but makes the movements cleaner and more balletic. Giving the dancers notes after a rehearsal, he tells them not to freeze in one pose--it's "more like hanging" from an invisible string, he says. In the new Soul Sauce he exposes the poverty of what passes for Latin dancing in nightclubs by juxtaposing self-involved, rhythmically monotonous gyrations with the more syncopated and connected movements of classic mambo and salsa, breaking them down and isolating them almost the way a painter finds the abstract forms underlying everyday objects. The other new work on the program is the solo Wailing Woman, inspired by a figure from Mexican folklore; also being presented are Amor y Dolor and Ognat, based on the tango. Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-344-8300. Opens Thursday, March 8, 8 PM. Through March 10: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $20.

--Laura Molzahn

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

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