Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago 

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There's something violent about Prey, Ron De Jesus's new work for this venerable company, and yet the piece remains fluid and pretty. It seems De Jesus, a former Hubbard Street dancer now performing on Broadway in Twyla Tharp's Movin' Out, has a story to tell. It may have something to do with the oppression of women, who are often chased around by the men in this dance--in one phrase, a man walks up to a woman purposefully and encircles her with his arms. But the women give as good as they get: right after a man embraces a woman, then pushes her to the floor, two women shove two other men down. At the end of the piece the men and women take turns flinging themselves earthward, but it's the women who end up prostrate. I may be making the choreography sound more abusive than it is, however: in a tape of a rehearsal, De Jesus asks the dancers for "energy, but not forced energy." Also on the program is a tidbit from Richard Arve, a 2001 reconstruction of his 1976 trio for three men, Naja. This celebration of manhood--naja means "cobra" in Hindi, and the dancers' flimsy flesh-colored trunks make them look naked--features lots of back bends and intricate partnering. The program also includes Gus Giordano's Gang Hep, a 1966 tribute to Jerome Robbins's West Side Story that was reconstructed last spring; Randy Duncan's Can't Take This Away; Mia Michaels's odd but arresting Le Grand Futur Is Here!; Jon Lehrer's duet Cesura; and Mark Schulze's comic Barred. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 312-902-1500. Through October 26: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 3 PM. $20-$25.

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