The touch of a hand, the feel of the noose | Dance Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The touch of a hand, the feel of the noose

"Vanishing Points" offers four works from Hedwig Dances

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Hedwig Dances goes for the gut in "Vanishing Points." Passion, sumptuous dancing, and a psychological focus unify this program of four pieces, three of which are premieres by Cuban-born choreographers. Company member Michel Rodriguez gets under the skin big-time with his new quintet, Por Dentro ("Inside"). An almost voyeuristic compendium of ways to touch—neurotic self-checking, playing tag, sexual caresses—the piece fascinates and disturbs on a deep level. Centered on the image of a thick noose around one dancer's neck, Judith Sanchez Ruiz's new duet, It's Not About You, is nearly as unsettling.

Dance of Forgotten Steps, a 2010 sextet by Hedwig artistic director Jan Bartoszek, shows off the company's genius for stark but expressive design. Devoted to the ongoing influence of long-gone communities, it uses video projections on movable screens to confuse substance and shadow. A similar ingenuity marks Victor Alexander's new male trio, Line of Sighs, which features a web of long bungees arrayed like the warp yarns on a loom. Capable of sound and shimmering transformation, the cords bind and separate the men, whose rough moves resemble the action of a weaver's shuttle.

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