Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago | Dance Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago


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Muntu returns to its roots with this program, "Life Moves: A Tribute to Alyo." The late Alyo Tolbert founded the company in 1972, and this year, as part of its participation in the Spring Festival of Dance, the company performs his Basket Dance as well as other favorites like Fangama, a war dance from Senegal in which male and female performers showcase the fine art of polyrhythmic movement. Feet pounding out one rhythm, torsos pulsating to another, and heads marking the accents, these dancers make visible the often abrupt changes in tempo and meter provided by the remarkable Muntu drummers. Other favorites include Harry Detry's Evening Time, a piece about slaves in Jamaica that follows the vacillation between work and play in their everyday lives, and Sabar, choreographed by Idy Ciss of Senegal and intended to celebrate Senegalese independence. New to the festival (the piece was premiered in December at the troupe's annual Kennedy-King College performances) is Liberian choreographer Nimley Napla's Village of the So-So Women, about the chaos that ensues when a young girl tells some boys she meets in the forest about her village, the home of a women's secret society. Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 3 at the Merle Reskin Theatre, 60 E. Balbo; $15-$25. Call 312-902-1500 for tickets, 773-602-1135 for information. --Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by K. Shabu.

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