Women so pervade the dance world that at times their preeminence fades from view--especially when male choreographers and dancers garner more than their share of attention. Inaugurating a new series at Link's Hall on women mentors, this program features the abundant talents and energy of four Chicago women: Shirley Mordine and her former students Ann Boyd, Colleen Halloran, and Atalee Judy. Each has come up with a new dance-theater solo, to be linked with the others by T.W. Li's poetic, largely abstract videos. Watching the works in rehearsal I was struck by how each commented, however obliquely, on the experience of being female. In the humorous All Things, Halloran uses running a marathon as a metaphor for how we challenge ourselves--though self-doubt plagues her at the end, suddenly reversing her euphoria. The backdrop for Judy's Logotype 03, one in a series, is a video of symbolic, surreal, and/or pornographic images; an unusually powerful figure, Judy alternately throws herself around the space and stops dead, bringing her hand to her crotch, then moving her palm out in a gesture of offering. In Boyd's piece, tentatively titled "Mending," she appears amid helium flowers in fairy-tale garb with a giant spool of thread on her back; her monologue and recorded score address "what every little girl wants." And Mordine's solo, American Stories, includes reminiscences of her own childhood and youth illustrating men's expectations of women; ultimately we see these experiences in light of the story of Medea--whom she describes as "not a woman willing to compromise." Making witty use of tiny props and the telling or evocative gesture, Mordine shows in this piece that she won't put herself on the shelf either--nor should she. Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield, 773-281-0824. Through January 26: Fridays-Saturdays, 8 PM; Sunday, 7 PM. $12.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jennifer Girard.