Zephyr Dance | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Saying good-bye is the task motivating Michelle Kranicke's new sextet, Do Us Part. Not necessarily to a husband or wife but to anyone or anything we cherish; as Kranicke, Zephyr's artistic director, puts it, this dance is about "people and places appearing and disappearing throughout your life, the different forms they can take." The subject may sound ominously sentimental, but there's nothing predictable about Kranicke's treatment of it. For one thing, she chooses difficult music: compositions by 20th-century composers George Crumb (set to Garcia Lorca's poems for dead children), Peruvian Gustavo Santaolalla, and Charles Amirkanian, who uses found sounds--the first selection here sounds like a windmill intermittently shrieking against a soft backdrop of birdsong and sawing insects. Kranicke also asks her dancers to vocalize during one section, singing wordlessly or "speaking" nonsense with the inflections of English. And she's choreographed very simple but affecting movement: "paring down" was her intention, "challenging the dancers to use more than their bodies." The opening section is as stately yet light as the earliest courtly forms of ballet: a phalanx of dancers crosses the stage with measured steps, rising to half pointe and sinking, in clear floor patterns from which one or another dancer occasionally departs. Filled with images both childlike and full of care--dancers often catch one another falling--Do Us Part sneaks up on you emotionally and deals a devastating blow in the quiet final section. It's a piece for anyone who's ever said good-bye, and who hasn't? Also on the program are Kranicke's Sum One and associate artistic director Emily Stein's Precarious. Friday and Saturday at 8 in the auditorium of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State; $12-$15. Call 773-989-8225 for tickets and information. --Laura Molzahn

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

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