Hedwig Dances brings Bauhaus utilitarianism to the stage | Bleader

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Hedwig Dances brings Bauhaus utilitarianism to the stage

Posted By on 04.05.18 at 06:00 AM

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click to enlarge NADIA OUSSENKO
  • Nadia Oussenko

The Bauhaus art school may have closed in 1933, but its influence on visual design has endured. Melding crafts and fine art with an emphasis on simplicity and utilitarianism, the Bauhaus movement helped define the modernist aesthetic. Hedwig Dances artistic director Jan Bartoszek pays tribute to these groundbreaking artists with her in-development dance project Futura; two of its numbers are presented in "Point | Line | Plane," a program that highlights the company’s focus on incorporating sleek visual elements into choreography.

Last May, Bartoszek spent time in the three major German cities where Bauhaus had a foothold: Weimar, Dessau, and Berlin. She's fascinated by the school's experimental spirit, but also sees ties between the political climate that surrounded these artists and current events. "It was after World War I and they were hoping for a better world," says Bartoszek. "What did they get? They got Hitler. But it was a utopian time at the beginning, and it’s interesting how history rhymes in some ways."

For these new works, Bartoszek is turning to bold geometric imagery, with one dance about circles and another that uses eight-foot-long rods to create different shapes that alter the space. "With these two dances, we're working with the ideas of confinement and freedom," she says, "how space can be shaped to feel contained or open." Sanja Manakoski’s costumes deconstruct and transform the dancers' bodies, and Bartoszek's core themes are reflected in a cocoonlike garment that breaks apart into pieces. It's a visual metaphor for Bauhaus's revolutionary ideology, and Futura explores the beauty of building blocks.

"Point | Line | Plane" Fri 4/6, 7:30 PM, and Sat 4/7, 2 and 7:30 PM, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, 312-291-8196, hedwigdances.com, $15-$25.

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