What a tangled web: Victor Alexander's Line of Sighs | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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What a tangled web: Victor Alexander's Line of Sighs

The bottom line is "only connect."



The set for Victor Alexander's Line of Sighs is genius. One glance at the precisely arrayed bungee cords tells you the piece is about connections, which Cuban native Alexander—now a Hedwig Dances performer—sees in terms of past, present, and future. "I miss my home a lot," he says. "But that doesn't mean I can't move forward." Far from sentimental, the 45-minute Line of Sighs catches the six performers in a web of complex, uneasily negotiated relationships and life paths. Taut cords frame solos, duets, and trios; released, they make a zinging noise, which set and sound designer Petra Valoma layers over the soft clacking of a loom and the sparse notes of Arianna Kala Brame's score.

It could be a line of anything, of course—but "sighs" is perfect given the tension and release of the movement, which resembles a martial art not in form but in its reliance on gravity and momentum to gain force. Flying through the air, hurling oneself to the ground, and extreme partnering combine with gentler movement—hands touching the inner thighs, deliquescent shoulder stands—to suggest the constant turmoil and the emotional challenges of a traveler's life.

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