River North is really fun, the way it's fun to go to a party or club and dance with a lot of people to a lot of different kinds of music. Because variety--within limits--is definitely part of the troupe's appeal. Founder Sherry Zunker Dow has a flair for choreographing to vocal music, whether pop or gospel, which gives her work an MTV accessibility and gut-level impact: she's best known for Reality of a Dreamer, with its masochistic sense of surrender; but even her piece about angels (at least I think it's about angels), Glimpse, is sexy. Ginger Farley's premiere on this program, Eye of a Needle, Head of a Pin, is angular and cranky, set to a collage of circus music, birdcalls, and Celtic fiddle. Randy Duncan's finale for the 1994 Dance for Life benefit--the flowing, propulsive Lean on Me--will be performed as a company premiere, and once again River North will dance Sam Watson and the late Kenneth Comstock's eye-popping duet Wired, which has been re-created by numerous dancers over several years on lots of stages and has never failed, so far as I know, to elicit screams of delight from the audience. Frank Chaves, now the troupe's coartistic director, is perhaps its most powerful choreographer, however, and certainly its most prolific. This program features his clever Thief, sly Perfidia, the mesmerizingly silky and sexy duet Fixe, and a new piece called Macarena, which is full of the languorous details of Latin dance--a hand resting at the neck, a dragged foot--as well as its quick, vigorous changes in direction and tempo. The dancers are beautiful. Like I say, it's a lot of fun. And it's brought to you, as so many companies are these days, by Dance Chicago '95. Thursday, November 2, at 6:30; Friday and Saturday at 8; and Sunday at 3 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport; $20. Call 902-1500 for individual tickets, 935-6860 for subscription tickets, group sales, and information.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/William Frederking.