Deborah Hay | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Deborah Hay 

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When Deborah Hay choreographs a dance, she has trillions of collaborators: every living cell in her body. Years ago she set herself a unique disciplinary system of what she calls "cellular consciousness," isolating herself all day, every day, in her studio, training herself to listen to her body's messages on how to move. The resulting performances have been as charged as lightning. Though it was almost a decade ago that I last saw her perform, at Dance Theater Workshop in New York, it seems as if it were last week. Hay's choreography reveals the landscape of the viewer's emotions, yet she also appeals to the intellect. Over a career of some 30 years, she's collaborated with such greats as Pauline Oliveros, Robert Rauschenberg, Yvonne Rainer, Trisha Brown, and David Gordon, with them inventing postmodern dance. When Hay moved to Austin in 1976, she began to create legendary large-scale works employing both trained and untrained dancers, this weekend's performances include a piece set on several locals in which they don makeshift hats and carry books, ladles, and a variety of ceremonial and functional canes. Also included is Hay's solo Lamb at the Altar, which grew out of a mammoth community piece in Texas. She dedicates the evening to her mentor, John Cage. Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 7 at Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield; $7. Call 281-0824 for tickets and information.

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

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