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Rosanna Gamson/World Wide

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The curtain is raised partway to reveal a woman sitting hunched over, looking like a pile of clothing, and a bare-chested man standing just behind her, shoulders back--and once the curtain rises it becomes clear that the martial arts are to be compared with lovers' arts. Following a loud crash, six more dancers run onstage to form a phalanx whose kicks, swung arms, and weight shifts suggest the way karate artists ground themselves, spinning inward to spin out, gaining leverage for an attack. Two Views (an Urban Ocean Has 29 Eyes), a 2002 work by LA-based choreographers Rosanna Gamson and Johnny Tu, is said to be inspired by two ancient texts: the witty Pillow Book, by 11th-century Japanese courtesan Sei Shonagon, and Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Thirteen "chapters" separated by changes in music and lighting and the manipulation of a huge silk banner hint at a story about a courtly couple, though the details aren't clear; intervals of soldierly marching and military stratagems reinforce the idea that love is a battlefield. In one particularly impressive maneuver a group of dancers approach the warrior of the opening vignette, marching toward him for a few steps, then falling back. But they're oblivious to him when he begins to advance on them, walking toward and finally through them like a knife slicing through a cloud. Also impressive is a section consisting largely of interactions between couples, who mostly roll or lie together; the courtly pair is featured, walking in opposite directions in a large circle, then together. Shane W. Cadman's music is evocative, as is Melody Versoza's singing, but ultimately this 45-minute piece doesn't quite hold together, the isolated words of its sparse spoken text like beautiful but useless stitching. Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-344-8300. Opens Thursday, March 4, 8 PM. $20. Through March 6: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $24. Note: There will be discussions with the artists after the Thursday performance and before the Friday performance; free. The troupe offers a FamilyDance matinee Saturday, March 6, at 3 PM, with a free movement workshop for parents and children at 2:15 PM; $10, $6 for children. And the troupe offers a master class Monday, March 1, at 6:30 PM at Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield; $15.

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