Luna Negra Dance Theater | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Luna Negra Dance Theater 

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Artistic director Eduardo Vilaro's new pieces both have to do with assimilation, a subject he's addressed before. But when it comes to Vilaro's work, God is truly in the details--in the sensitively crafted phrases of his choreography. Vuelo del Alma ("Flight of the Soul") consists of four snapshots evoking different aspects of the immigrant experience. In the filmic first part, all six dancers form a phalanx "running" in slow motion without getting anywhere; set to an odd mix of a recorded conversation between a child and mother plus a nightclub recording of Afro-Caribbean song and percussion, this twitchy section is marked by a striking gesture: one dancer holds another by the waist as she bends over backward, mouth open in a silent scream, and he attempts to calm--or stifle--her with a hand over her mouth. The second section, which Vilaro says should come across as a whisper, is a tender duet in which the dancers sing an old bolero. In the third, a fearless woman leaps from box to box; and the fourth, the least enigmatic, suggests the costs of the journey, which is not over. Vilaro's other new piece--Tiburones ("Sharks")--is more extroverted, an updated view of the gang in West Side Story as they might see themselves; this simultaneously joyous and slightly ironic piece for nine is marked by a precarious solo on sky-high heels that turns the dancer literally upside down. Also on the program are Vilaro's funny/horrifying duet Late...After Siesta (which he'll perform), Mexican choreographer Miguel Mancillas's Fisuras, and two pieces by Spanish choreographer Gustavo Ramirez Samsano: Luna de miel ("Honeymoon"), which employs movement derived from Latin soap operas, and Flabbergast, a jokey postmodern piece with a kitschy musical-theater feel. Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-344-8300. Opens Thursday, November 21, 8 PM. Through November 23: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $20-$24. Note: There will be a family matinee Saturday at 3 PM. $10; $6 for children.

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