Posted by: trailerpilot | 11:04::2009

RivNo’s sweaty Saturday.

RivNoIt wasn’t that long ago I was telling you about River North Chicago Dance Company’s 20th Anniversary engagement but I know it’s been a busy month. Let this be your reminder that RNCDC plans to pack the Harris for one night only, this Saturday, November 7, with a behemoth program of new and old.

I stopped by the company’s studio a few days ago to watch run-thrus of Evolution of a Dream (Sherry Zunker’s Reality of a Dreamer 2.0) and Frank Chaves’ Forbidden Boundaries in-progress. Dream puts Zunker’s sure hand with textures front and center: throughout a rush of staccato gestures and alert shifts, the dancers occasionally take a unison plunge into lush, smooth asides. It plays out in parallel  planes, the dancers often braiding around one another in lines. Float-like-a-butterfly boxer footwork and sporting speed-skater advances give the whole piece a curiously-athletic tint, but the spatial patterning is a cut above anything you’d see on a playing field.

Chaves wanted literally to peel away the constructs of self-limitation, deciding on open shirts for his dancers that, through various partnered events, become handcuffs, straitjackets and tourniquets. The images — and the real struggle the dancers have while tethered — drive Boundaries‘ points home hard and make for some exciting moments of counterbalance and momentous whip-cracking. The centerpiece of the work, and probably the evening, is a gorgeously-tortured trio featuring Lizzie MacKenzie in literal limbo between two men (Michael Gross and Ricky Ruiz), torqued and manipulated within a membrane that threatens to destroy her even as it provides essential support.

Five more works are on the bill; with a number of recent additions to the company and a program that highlights what RivNo does best (ceaseless, passionate abandon), this weekend is an opportune time to check in with the crew.

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