Shanahan / Mad Shak | Epiphany Episcopal Church | Dance | Chicago Reader

Shanahan / Mad Shak Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 23 2010

Molly Shanahan gives her dances time to mature, and the evening-length works presented during this two-weekend stand offer a peek at her fermentation process. The first weekend is devoted entirely to My Name Is a Blackbird, a solo that started out as a 15-minute sketch in 2005 but had grown to three times that length by 2007. Riveting in both its approach to movement and Shanahan's detailed performance, it gets big payoffs from small effects, like the suspense implicit in a foot hovering motionless above the floor. In 2008, Shanahan says, she started "translating" Blackbird into an ensemble piece. Shown in various iterations since then, each with a different subtitle, it's evolved into Stamina of Curiosity: Our Strange Elevations--the 50-minute quintet to be danced by Shanahan / Mad Shak as the sole selection of the second weekend. Although Shanahan has no plans for a final version, she says this one shows "a more deeply shared understanding between me and the group." The sense of intimacy is never overplayed--in fact, the dancers' interactions can feel diffident. But when they touch, even matter-of-factly, it's electrifying. The 6 PM curtain time is intended to catch early-evening natural light in the performance venue, a church. --Laura Molzahn

Price: $20-$30, both shows $35-$50

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