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Marianne Kim and Kate Thomas

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Marianne Kim's images are often impregnable--evocative and rich but without a shred of explanation or context. A young woman reaches for a red umbrella suspended in midair, for example, or a woman wearing only a togalike skirt takes ten minutes to turn in a circle. Many of Kim's recent pieces draw on the super-slow Japanese dance form butoh. But her interest in inexplicable images was apparent even in the first dance of hers I saw: a student piece based on Conrad Aiken's short story "Silent Snow, Secret Snow," about a boy becoming lost in the snows of catatonic schizophrenia. Her pieces are often dominated by a few brightly colored objects, a red umbrella or a blue ladder and chair, and her premiere Licking the Jigsaw is described as "exploring images of sensory deprivation and overload within a surreal landscape." On the bill with Kim on this second weekend of Randolph Street's "Dancing Near the Edge" series is Kate Thomas, who recently moved to Chicago from Toronto. Her previous movement pieces have shown people in physically aggressive intimate relationships, the violence standing in for power struggles; her premiere here, She Would Always Follow, is a trio about two sisters negotiating their identities. Thomas's pieces are narrative and dramatic, at the opposite end of the spectrum from Kim's; the two of them together will at the very least provide high contrast. The High Risk Group, described as "angry gay men" who perform a very masculine, physical form of improvisation, conclude the series with performances June 2 and 3; they're also conducting workshops May 29-June 1. Kim and Thomas perform Saturday and Sunday at 8 at Randolph Street Gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee; $6-$10. Call 666-7737 for tickets and information.

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