Ea Sola | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Ea Sola 

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Choreographer Ea Sola is loyal to two cultures--and to none. "I never feel that I've got a country to call my own," she said in a 1995 interview. "When I'm in Paris I'm in love with Paris; when I go to Vietnam I like Vietnam." Born and raised in that war-torn place, she left it in 1974 and wandered from country to country, arriving as a teenager in Paris in 1978. She returned to her homeland for the first time in 1989, gathering material about the folk-art traditions that had been disrupted by war and modernization. What's most apparent in the evening-length piece her company is performing here--Voila Voila, the final work in a trilogy about Vietnam--is its organic integration of East and West: a curious stillness at the work's heart unifies the two. The nine Vietnamese musicians play traditional percussion and flute music as well as solos for cello, and the seven dancers perform both rural dance-opera forms dating from the 13th century and what looks like modern dance inflected by the slow stateliness and delicate dignity of Eastern forms. Huge hand-embroidered banners recall modern works of art but represent rice paddies. And the dancers--wearing long, columnar dresses--move across the floor in such small steps they look like dolls on wheels but are arranged in such starkly lit, isolated formations they're like figures in a Robert Wilson piece. Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 4 in the theater of the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago; $16-$18, $15 for MCA members (a reception honoring the artists following the Friday performance is $40 and includes one admission). Call 312-397-4010 for tickets and information. --Laura Molzahn

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