River North Chicago Dance Company | Harris Theater | Dance | Chicago Reader

River North Chicago Dance Company The Short List (Theater) Recommended Critics' Picks Opening (Theater and Galleries)

When: Fri., Feb. 13, 8 p.m. and Sat., Feb. 14, 8 p.m. 2009

River North artistic director Frank Chaves says he loves duets, but he hasn't choreographed one since The Mourning in 2004. Maybe that's why he goes all out on the new Sentir Em Nos ("Even for Us"), set to a vocal duet by Andrea Bocelli and Dulce Pontes. Chaves calls the relationship he's after here "turbulent, tormented"--and the dancing is intense, partly because the performers touch almost constantly. Precise partnering enables Michael Gross and Melanie Manale-Hortin to move fluidly through violent interactions with seemingly accidental effects. Lifting Manale-Hortin and pivoting, Gross whirls, and the momentum wraps her legs around his waist. Company member Monique Haley takes a very different direction in her new Uhuru ("Freedom"), a big, extroverted full-company piece. Set to music by the Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble, it's busy and fast, an onslaught of exhilarating, African-inflected movement that Haley says is intended to "inspire the spirit to move in a new way." The program also includes another Chaves premiere, Tuscan Rift, set to music by Rene Aubrey and Andrew Bird, and two company favorites: Robert Battle's Train and Chaves's Underground Movements. --Laura Molzahn

Price: $30-$75