Zephyr Dance | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Zephyr artistic director Michelle Kranicke set herself a difficult task in her new sextet: inspired by William Gass's On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry, she decided to make a dance about blueness, investigating her own associations with her favorite color. The project, which she's worked on for the past seven months, turned out to be more difficult than addressing death (as she did in the 1999 Do Us Part) or blindness (last year's Frozen Straight On). The result, Wander Through, is more environment than treatise, more kinetic landscape than story. But the human mind finds meaning no matter how abstract the subject; my thoughts meandered through hunger, sex, reverence. Kranicke is not afraid to think small, having her dancers turn their backs on the audience and incorporating everyday gestures--wiping the face with one hand, pulling both hands to the mouth greedily. Simple gestures repeated often deliver a big punch: hands are snatched into the chest, then one flies out to the side while the head flies in the opposite direction; a pedestrian walk is punctuated by a swift, elegant turn and crouch. The sound design includes pieces by minimalists Philip Glass and Terry Riley as well as experimental rock by Les Phones, creating a different feeling for each section. Also new is associate artistic director Emily Stein's Niagara Mind, which she says is about "absorbing huge and wondrous things." Working with Chicago composer Jerome Begin, she's created an alternately serene and effervescent work. Also on the program is Do Us Part. Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-344-8300. Opens Thursday, June 7, 8 PM. Through June 9: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $18.

--Laura Molzahn

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

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