The cryptic clarity of "Flight Patterns" | Performing Arts Sidebar | Chicago Reader

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The cryptic clarity of "Flight Patterns"

RE|Dance's latest show combines vivid environments and meanings that are just out of reach


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RE|Dance creates a clear sense of place with objects and environments permeated by mystery. One of two Chicago premieres on the company's new program, "Flight Patterns," Michael Estanich's 45-minute sextet The Attic Room features 500 tiny flying origami cranes, books used as stepping stones and building blocks, owl masks, and a large rug that can be a magic carpet or a prison cell, a haven or a shroud. Estanich says he was aiming for a tension between childlike play and the feeling of being "afraid to leave but desperately wanting out." Dense and rich, The Attic Room opens the door to multiple psychological scenarios and creates a Peter Pan-esque sense of adventure as one performer frequently unfurls a map and all six peer though "telescopes" made of curled hands brought to an eye. Estanich and artist Shelby Kroeger fill the stage with six- to eight-foot-tall reeds for Inhabitants of Tall Grass, a 20-minute trio in which RE|Dance codirector Lucy Riner performs. More formal than psychological, Inhabitants is meant to provide a space for meditation.

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