Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival improves its yield | Performing Arts Sidebar | Chicago Reader

Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival improves its yield 

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This year's crop of 90 submissions was nearly three times bigger than in 2010, when Nicole Gifford and Melissa Mallinson started the Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival. Out of that the two culled 27 pieces, by artists from Chicago and across North America, for three programs. On Friday, Gifford and Megan Rhyme perform a revised version of Gifford's 2005 Evalina's Hands, based on a poem Gifford wrote when she was a teen, giving manicures and hand massages at the nursing home where her grandmother lived. This spare piece, about an everywoman who can own both self-loathing and pride, conveys the sense of a frail old appendage, reduced nearly to bone. Saturday, Mallinson's Ology Dance performs her new quartet, Growth, a collaboration with composer Howie Kantoff that reflects on how things grow, for better and worse. A shifting beat drives Kantoff's score and Mallinson's gentle, often circular or undulating movement.

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