Chicago's Next Dance Festival | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Chicago's Next Dance Festival 

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Winifred Haun started this festival, now in its seventh year and coproduced by Frank Fishella, as an "incubator" for new work. This season the sheer volume of new pieces is impressive: each individual or troupe in the three completely different programs is presenting a premiere. And if Breakbone DanceCo.'s new duet is any indication, the festival should have a high avant-garde factor: artistic director Atalee Judy and fellow dancer Robbie Cook have come up with a disturbing piece whose creepy costumes, video, and choreography provide more insight into mental illness than we might want. Logotype 01 (a follow-up to the solo Logotype 00, also on the program) is accompanied by Judy's experimental rock music/sound design and David Birdwell's video, shot in a basement and a half-demolished building; watching Cook move from a long shot of head banging to a whispered close-up is like watching a nightmare figure swim up from the deep to deliver a message we'd rather not hear. Judy's costumes resemble straitjackets, and the choreography is alternately repetitively self-involved and shatteringly physical. When the dancers strip to skimpy skivvies, they create an effect of both classic universality and horrifying vulnerability. In addition to Breakbone DanceCo., the first program (running January 25-27) includes the 58 Group, the DanceCOLEctive, Susan Hoffman, the Moose Project, Robin Lakes/Rough Dance, and Same Planet Different World. On the second (February 1-3) are Cindy Brandle, Paula Frasz, Jeff Hancock, Winifred Haun & Dancers, Peter Sciscioli, and Zephyr Dance. The third program (one matinee on February 4) features the Anatomical Theatre, Bril Barrett's M.A.D. Rhythms, Jennifer Grisham, the Colleen Halloran Performance Group, Laurel Moore, Lauri Stallings and Ron De Jesus, and Emily Stein. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 312-902-1500, 773-583-2995. Thursdays-Saturdays, January 25-27 and February 1-3, 8 PM. Then Sunday, February 4, 3 PM. $12-$16, $27-$36 for a festival pass.

--Laura Molzahn

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

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