Kinetic Cafe | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Kinetic Cafe 

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It is a pleasure to watch a choreographer learn to express intense emotions kinetically. Mary Johnston-Coursey's dances from a few years ago, when she was working in Chicago, were often about intense emotions that threatened to overwhelm the dancer. After dancing forcefully along a straight line, a dancer would suddenly stop, a leg and opposite arm reaching out yearningly in the direction she was going while the rest of her body pulled back in the direction from which she had come. But in Johnston-Coursey's recent work with Salt Lake City's Kinetic Cafe company, the dances are made of demanding, nonstop movement full of sudden lifts, collapses, and changes in direction. While her quartet She Was Whirling When I Caught Her has lots of theatrical elements--piles of clothes onstage, a voice-over narration about the importance of clothes to women, and an original score by Patty Bullenbaugh-Guest--the heart of the dance is the emotional interaction between the four women: the catching and whirling. Strong emotions are not encoded in the dance; emotion instead informs the texture a dancer gives to the movement. Kinetic Cafe will also present Johnston-Coursey's duet Covenant, her solo The Dreaming Time, and Episodes in the Life of a Potato, which the company describes as "a series of vignettes on how everyday aspects of life can be meaningful," and the premiere of Chicagoan Ann Boyd's Curtain From the Ballet "Parade," a set of four solos in which dancers play characters who step off of a set based on a Picasso painting. Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 7 at Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield; $7. For reservations call 281-0824.

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

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