Chicago Tap Theatre | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Chicago Tap Theatre 

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Imagine some 20 tap dancers performing in unison in a room that's, oh, maybe 30 feet by 30 feet. The floor was bouncing so hard during the rehearsal I watched I couldn't keep my pen on the paper. But the experience was undeniably thrilling. Chicago Tap Theatre, made up of artistic director Mark Yonally and 11 female dancers, is joined this weekend by Tapage, a French company from Toulouse. The troupes will perform some works together (like Liaison, set to hip-hop by DJ Food), others separately. In Yonally's suite Torch Trio, set to songs by Peggy Lee, the dancers exhibit the combination of exhaustion, irritation, and enforced gaiety typical of workingwomen--all while tapping, of course. Works by Valerie Lussac for her company tend toward whimsy: Intermede, set to music by Louis Armstrong and one of several connected dances scattered throughout the program, features two black, beaked creatures hauntingly reminiscent of old-style hoofers. Spyrographe begins with a mysterious, perhaps sinister valise whose purpose ultimately proves benign. And Tapage's Tango Suite, like much of Yonally's choreography, is surprisingly sexy: who knew the effect a dragged toe could have? Musically sophisticated and cheerily performed, the dances by both companies emphasize emotions rather than steps. Harold Washington Library Center, auditorium, 400 S. State, 773-655-1175. Through April 10: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $15-$25.

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

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