Urban Bush Women | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Urban Bush Women

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There's something charming about grown women skipping rope, horsing around like nine-year-olds, pretending to be forest sprites and giant bugs. A sense of play pervades Urban Bush Women's new work, Shadow's Child, cocommissioned by the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago and being presented here this weekend in preview performances. The performers sing, dance, and act out scenes in what might be called an opera if not for its child-oriented story: a young girl from Mozambique moves to a rural area in the United States, where she's an outcast because she's "different." Consoling herself with the ancestral spirits of her native country, she eventually becomes a hero in her new home. A collaboration with the National Company of Song and Dance of Mozambique (whose traditional music and dance are part of the show), this piece features the supple modern and ethnic dance for which Urban Bush Women are known: in the polyrhythmic style of African dance, the performers' bodies move almost miraculously in several different directions to several different beats at once. Wish I could do that. But the next best thing is watching it. Bring the kids: the show is recommended for families. Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-344-8300. Opens Thursday, June 20, 8 PM. Through June 22: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $20. On Saturday and Sunday there will be two "FamilyDance" matinees preceded by free movement workshops for parents and children; workshop at 2:15 PM, performance at 3 PM. $10 adults, $6 children.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jenny Lester.

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