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

Luna Negra Dance Theater 

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"You're trying to listen to each other," artistic director Eduardo Vilaro tells his dancer and a pianist during a rehearsal. "Don't. When we first started, the piece was really jagged. I liked that." Vilaro's comments are unusual but perhaps not surprising given that his new solo--Mujer Llorando ("Weeping Woman")--was inspired by Picasso's cubist painting of the same name. He tells composer-pianist Corbett Lunsford to "play independently" from the motions of dancer Kristin Mitchell--and she should try to forget about the music, he says. In this piece Vilaro, who seldom settles for easy effects, is aiming not only to disjoin the music and dancing but to break classical lines: poised in an arabesque penche, the dancer squiggles her fingers before her eyes, seeming to gather tears from them. Wearing what looks like an old-fashioned flamenco dress--purple with big white polka dots and layers of flouncy crinolines--the dancer recalls the era of Picasso's 1937 painting; barefoot, she uses her legs not so much to step as to gesture. Lunsford's music, which he'll play live, is a jazz-inflected composition in a minor key. Also on the program are Nancy Turano's Carmen (with three dancers in the role derived from Bizet's opera); Miguel Mancillas's Fisuras ("Fissures"); and Gustavo Ramirez Sansano's ensemble piece Flabbergast and tongue-in-cheek duet Luna de Miel ("Honeymoon"), which features video that recalls telenovelas, choreography with a soap-operatic intensity, and cheery recorded songs that suggest the 50s but reportedly have quite racy Spanish lyrics. Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, 312-337-6543 or 312-337-6882. Opens Thursday, November 6, 8 PM. Through November 9: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 3 PM. $16-$20; $12 ($6 for children under ten) at the matinee.

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