I saw Cycles of Unveiling in rehearsal, without costumes or set. When you see it, tattered cheesecloth will hang from the ceiling between the audience and the dancers. Five of them will be nude except for lengths of cheesecloth wrapped around their hips or chests. A sixth clothed dancer is "a voyeur--a representative of the audience," according to XSight! artistic director Brian Jeffery. This sixth dancer keeps pulling back the curtain of cheesecloth, displaying the others in mysterious, often simple movements. Their rituals seem meaningful but remain as incomprehensible as those of a New Guinea tribe. But the feelings and thoughts are unmistakable: decay, death, grief, survival. This work--a collaboration by Jeffery, Peter Carpenter, and Marianne Kim--seems put into motion by a clear-sighted acceptance of the dark things that fall across our paths. And it's beautiful. The other collaborative piece, Lying Prophets/Cruel Fools, is its polar opposite; Jeffery describes it as "loud, full of characters, with lots of text--it's commedia dell'arte circus-and-freak show." Also on the program are duets and trios by each of XSight!'s three members, including Kim's Unleashed, the third in a series on Viola the Dog Lady. Grounded in Japanese butoh, it asks the question, "If all men are dogs, what are dogs?" Thursday, December 7, through Saturday at 8 at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 4730 N. Sheridan; $14-$16. Call 989-3310 for tickets and information.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/William Frederking.