At Lucky Plush's 'Tab Show,' anything can happen | Dance | Chicago Reader

At Lucky Plush's 'Tab Show,' anything can happen 

The dance troupe recreates the spirit of an old roller rink and a traveling road show.

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William Frederking

The members of Lucky Plush Productions jokingly call themselves the "keep it real dance company." They abandon the pretentiousness that's often associated with dance performance, instead balancing formal technical elements with a casual, relaxed perspective. This makes their productions feel spontaneous and improvised, even though the ensemble works within a tight framework.

"The shows are very choreographed and scripted," says Lucky Plush artistic director Julia Rhoads. "The performers are not actively creating the show in real time, but there's the feeling because we try to have that practice of really listening to each other."

"Tab Show," playing this weekend at Harris Theater, highlights the company's signature approach with two pieces. Curb Candy remixes five moments from past works in a dream-like traveling road show, and Rink Life takes its inspiration from the roller rink to explore how people relate in an active space. "There's something about the old roller rinks where people were navigating all these things in real-time," says Rhoads. "You try to dance and roll around with someone and create relationships where people are always falling down. It's funny and absurd."

Lucky Plush's works begin with a concept and prompts that the troupe riffs on with movement and dialogue, which they refine during the rehearsal process. If Rhoads comes in with script pages, the material morphs as it's interpreted by the artists. "The most important thing is that authentic voice," she says. "When the audience feels like the show is unfolding live with them, they feel more included. They're leaning forward and there's an element of the unknown and anything can happen."   v

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