Zephyr Dances | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Last year, Zephyr artistic director Michelle Kranicke and associate director Emily Stein made a dance, Broken Time, about war widows and the process of rebuilding after a war. This year, they've gone for the abstract. Kranicke says that The Rhythm of Irreversible Direction addresses "flowing things, time and light" and that it was inspired by sitting in a rocking chair on a porch one afternoon when she wanted time to stand still. Often but not always leisurely, this piece for five begins in darkness with the dancers' eerie vocalizations: they pass the "melody" from one to another like birds calling at dawn. In the duet that follows, one dancer stands or runs in place, vigorously warming up her feet, while the other makes slow, quiet progress in a pedestrian walk that focuses on her soles slipping across the floor. When the runner starts speeding around the space we fear a disastrous collision with the walker, who continues on her own inexorable path; urgent piano music, notes spilling all over, heightens the drama. But apparently the dancers' universes run parallel. The final section is remarkably subdued and elegant as a phalanx of five dancers moves slowly across the floor, one or another occasionally turning and facing the others like a consciousness removed from time and regarding its passage. Stein's duet The Moment of Disappearing deals with boundaries, she says, but abstract ones: When does an acquaintance become a friend? What constitutes dancing separately and what together? How long is too long? Not long enough? For this structured improvisation, Stein gave her dancers choices--shapes to choose from, when to shift them. Also on the program is Kranicke's Wanderthrough, a piece she made two years ago in response to William Gass's book On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry. Duncan YMCA Chernin Center for the Arts, 1001 W. Roosevelt, 312-738-5999. Opens Thursday, June 5, 8 PM. Through June 7: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $16 in advance; $20 at the door.

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

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