Eiko & Koma's naked power at the MCA | Performing Arts Sidebar | Chicago Reader

Eiko & Koma's naked power at the MCA 

The butoh-influenced pair look back on nearly 40 years of intense, deliberate--and sometimes nude--dance

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Influenced by butoh and German expressionist dance, Eiko & Koma create images that blur the lines between animal and vegetable, male and female, the abstract and the intensely human. As part of a retrospective designed to last three years and take them to sites nationwide, they've been playing around at the Museum of Contemporary Art off and on since June—naked in the galleries in Naked, confined to a tiny trailer on the MCA plaza in The Caravan Project. This week they move to the MCA stage for a program titled "Regeneration." Of the three works they'll perform, Night Tide (1984)—their first piece featuring full nudity—is the best example of their vaunted snail's pace. Bathed in purple light, Eiko and Koma are widely separated at first, heads on the floor, hindquarters hoisted. It takes Eiko three minutes to topple onto her side. The movements may be glacial, but the viewer's mind races ahead to the point at which the gap between the two dancers will close. And indeed they do meet, in a moment that's devastating rather than heartwarming. Also on the bill: White Dance (1976) and Raven (2010), which includes live drumming and singing by Pueblo musician Robert Mirabal.

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