Seep | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Seep, Sprung, at the Vittum Theater, through September 14. If politics is show business for ugly people, then the ensemble-created gestural movement in Seep is dance for awkward people. Certain performers--notably Dalia Cidzikaite and Sandro Garibashvili--move elegantly, but even they can't help revealing the body's limitations as a means of communication. Movement can be enormously expressive, but not when gestures substitute for speech: if they're obvious enough to be clear, they're clownish; if not, they're obscure. Seep purportedly portrays the consequences of a couple's public breakup, but knowing that didn't clarify what was going on. I still don't understand the meaning of a gesture by Cidzikaite's character, the first onstage, that looked like writing on the air with her elbow.

Obscurity wouldn't matter if the movement conveyed emotion, but Sprung seems to deliberately avoid feeling. Though the performers exaggerate ordinary movements--jiggling legs, picking lint off clothes, glancing at watches--they minimize facial expressions, perhaps intending to convey profundity or to discourage any search for meaning. (An exception is Mary Ann De La Cruz, who encompasses the couple's entire history in a raised eyebrow.) As the music shifts from rap to opera to jazz, they repeat moves ad nauseam, mirror one another's twitches, and rearrange chairs. Though Sprung purports to offer a "radical reunderstanding of the banal," the results are--well, banal.

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