Merce Cunningham's dances show that structured randomness provides a playground for the mind. In eyeSpace, being performed on both programs here, audience members listen to randomly arranged selections from the score on iPods. Fabrications, on the second program, brings a "dance painting" to life from an initially limited palette: two performers barely stand out from a hazy blue matrix. Later shifts in lighting and choreography reveal what's actually there--five dancers strategically arranged to look like two--and change your perception of the backdrop, an abstract painting whose lines and colors appear and disappear. Little remains constant, but overall the piece is coherent: the sound score, like the painting, is made up of washes--repetitive noise or a single sustained note--overlaid by more delicate tracings, perhaps distant voices or the meandering lines of a violin. I thought this 30-minute piece might come full circle, returning to the "two" dancers, but the curtain comes down on a colorful, swirling stageful of a dozen performers. The first program also includes Crises and CRWDSPCR, and the second program also includes MinEvent. a Fri-Sat 10/12-10/13, 8 PM, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph, 312-344-6600, $20-$50. Cunningham dancer Robert Swinston offers a master class Thu 10/11, 6:30 PM, Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-344-8300, $15. --Laura Molzahn
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Fabrications photo by Tony Doughtery.