Chicago Verge Dance Theatre | Links Hall at Constellation | Dance | Chicago Reader
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Chicago Verge Dance Theatre Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Oct. 24-25 2014
Price: $18, $15 students and seniors
Most of the seven members of Chicago Verge Dance Theatre were already a close-knit group of friends when dancer-choreographers Hilary Barry and Tyne Shillingford founded the company back in 2008. And sometimes in the course of this concert of six new pieces, the group's experience of itself as a group slips into the dances themselves. Cheryl Cavey's The Momentary Collapse of Comfort is based on her intermittent, vexed sense in the studio that her best pals are excluding her. Marnie Lewis's Tug of War looks at the ease of crossing the line from bon vivant to party pooper. Exploring a different sort of group dynamic, guest artist Molly Mattei's film Together/Alone gives us five dancers in diaphanous white dresses and cavalry boots who traverse Los Angeles over the course of a day, each performing a solo hip-hop improvisation inspired by the quality of light at a given site. It culminates on the beach at sunset, the dancers converging in a frenzied breakdown in the surf. Illumination is also front and center in Barry and Shillingford's 25-minute-long Stirred. A soft pool of light intermittently flares and fades onstage. When it first appears, each of the seven dancers stalks around it, looking at it quizzically, then faces front and rocks forward and back on the balls of her feet as if straining for a breakthrough that never arrives. At times the dancers press with four fingers on their foreheads, attempting to refocus the way you might adjust the lens on a microscope. Finally, as they play in and out of the light's glow, their athletic flourishes and fast lifts become more insistent and urgent, and the work ends in a hopeful catharsis. —Jena Cutie



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