Two years ago Shirley Mordine said that she wasn't interested in making a well-made dance in Edge Mode, a projected three-part work that at the time had only one part. I took her remark rather literally to mean that sections like the "boot dance" were full of an uncharacteristic violence, rough around the edges. Well, she's still saying a well-made dance doesn't interest her, but after seeing the unfinished evening-length work last year and hearing her talk about it a few weeks ago, I know she means a deeper, more complete kind of roughness. The connections between the sections may be subliminal, the transitions left to the audience; the dancers have been given license to form their own characters; and Mordine has given herself permission to range over a variety of subjects without worrying about how they fit together. This doesn't mean she's been careless about the process or the product: she and her collaborators--composers Amnon Wolman and Richard Woodbury, visual designer Ken Bowen, and video designer Miroslaw Rogala--have worked hard to create a richly textured piece. But it addresses its stated subject--coming to terms with immigration--only in the broadest, most metaphorical sense. As Mordine herself said during a lecture-demonstration, Edge Mode was stimulated by an idea (the fall of the Berlin wall), but it's not about the idea. Her purposely messy work can be seen in its finished form for the first time this year, Thursday, May 16, through Saturday at 8 in the auditorium of the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State; $18-$20. Call 989-3310 for tickets and information. --Laura Molzahn
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/William Frederking.