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Carrie Hanson of the Seldoms often stages site-specific pieces in gloriously challenging spaces: a former reading room at the Chicago Cultural Center (the city's first public library), a cavernous architectural antiques store, and, last fall, an empty Park District pool. Next week she goes small, with a new piece set in a gallery against the backdrop of a giant painting.

Atalee Judy of Breakbone DanceCo. has developed a punishing but thrilling technique that involves dancers throwing themselves through the air and landing full force on the floor. For the intrepid, she offers advanced-level "bodyslam" classes (also de facto company auditions).

Shayna Swanson of Aloft Aerial Dance created a piece a year ago called Rolling Blackouts, lit only by battery-powered flashlights and lanterns, which gave the cast's antics on rings, trapezes, silks, and bungee cords a moody sideshow quality. In October she teams up with Strange Tree Theatre Group in a piece that'll transform the Aloft space into a haunted house.

Instruments of Movement, headed by James Morrow and Raphaelle Ziemba, specializes in hip-hop-inflected modern dance. For an upcoming project they team up with Nick Cave, head of the fashion department at the Art Institute, employing his "soundsuits"--raffia-covered, African-inspired costumes with knitted and crocheted elements, including masks.

The Chicago Dance Crash, headed by Mark Hackman and Christopher "Mouse" McCray, specializes in evening-length narratives featuring acrobatic dance--not only break-dance but martial arts and stage combat

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