Mad Shak Dance Company | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Mad Shak Dance Company 

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For Mad Shak Dance Company's fifth anniversary, artistic director Molly Shanahan looked to the past to prepare for the future. She's completely reworked the full-evening piece with which the troupe debuted in Chicago in 1994, Glass Slipper Totem, which she describes as a coming-of-age dance about the fragility and ephemerality of our culture's indicators of maturity and success. But deconstructing the Cinderella story is now only a small part of the work, which Shanahan has also cut in half: this tight, elegant piece evokes the bewilderment, losses, and troublesome conformity of youth through movement that sometimes seems weary and isolated (a dancer wipes her face with one hand) and sometimes violent and ritualistic (kneeling dancers swipe the floor over and over with one finger, loudly chanting unintelligible phrases in unison). Kevin O'Donnell's completely new score runs the gamut from pounding rock to mournful spirituals and country-western songs. Also on the program are Shanahan's 1996 Hive and the humorous quartet A Questionable Advantage, premiered last spring, as well as new solos by two company members: Katie Calandra's Shared on the first weekend and Shelby Kroeger's Puddles and Protectors on the second. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 through October 16 in the auditorium of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State; $12-$15 in advance, $15-$18 at the door. Call 773-296-0218 for tickets and information. (The company will also give a free lecture-demonstration Thursday, October 14, at 12:15 in the same place. Call 312-747-4850 for information.) --Laura Molzahn

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

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