What this young troupe has always had is a sense of urgency--a sense that the dancers are deeply invested in what they're doing. It seems to have affected even outside choreographer Ron De Jesus in the untitled piece he's created for the company, headed by Jason Ohlberg and Anna Simone Levin. Partly De Jesus plays off the imbalances inherent in his quintet for four women and one man: his staging opens with the man upstage in one chair and the women downstage in four chairs. Overall the dance feels off-kilter, and there's a sense of struggle and confrontation as the performers dive between one another's legs, somersault across one another's backs, or take flying leaps from the chairs into one another's arms. Michael Gordon's contemporary music drives De Jesus's sometimes startling choreography. A new duet Ohlberg has choreographed for Aria is much less active and not at all violent but has the same intensity. Set to music by Puccini, it's saturated with romantic feeling: the circular nature of the choreography--wrapping motions and whirling lifts--establishes a kind of invisible cylinder around Ohlberg and his partner, Katie Saifuku, enhanced by their concentration on each other. Also on the program are Levin's satirical Mujeres Caidas, Ohlberg's Venus, and a new piece by Levin, Ohlberg, and Jeff Hancock about the nuclear family in the 50s called The Nuclear Finale. The troupe offers a free lecture-demonstration Monday at 12:15 in the auditorium of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State; call 312-747-4800 for information. Regular performances are next Friday, October 29, at 7 (a benefit reception follows the performance) and next Saturday, October 30, at 6--a show for young audiences--and 8 in the same place; $15, $10 for the young-audience show, and $30 for the Friday show and reception. Call 773-784-6503 for tickets and information. --Laura Molzahn
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Filler.