Melissa Thodos & Dancers | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Melissa Thodos & Dancers 

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Every once in a while a choreographer bursts onto the scene with a single dance and wows everyone. Paul Christiano, a member of Melissa Thodos & Dancers, developed a piece as part of the company's incubator project, won a Ruth Page award for the choreography, and had it performed by the Joffrey in its hometown engagement last fall. Miracle, Interrupted is a dance for ten divided into sections that look different yet all convey a sense of energy maintained and transformed. The opening solo (performed by Christiano) is abrupt, almost convulsive; an ensemble section set to Vivaldi's "Winter" movement of The Four Seasons is remarkably driven yet fluid, a form of music visualization; and a romantic duet is quirky and provocative, as the woman covers her eyes or rolls back and forth between the man's legs when he stands with them spread wide. What unites these disparate parts is the movement, tossed yet controlled as energy is continually passed from one body part to another (in the solo) or from one dancer to another. Driven by some unnamed imperative, Miracle, Interrupted is an impressive effort for a neophyte choreographer. Also on the program are two other pieces by former or current company members created under the auspices of the "New Dances" program: Cameron Jarrett's rather dutiful trio, Into the Gap, and Amy Wilkinson's more dynamic quartet, Hush. Being revived are four pieces by artistic director Melissa Thodos: the solo Reaching There (to be performed for the first time by Christiano), Systematic Error, Vessels, and Lossfound. Harold Washington Library Center, auditorium, 400 S. State. Lecture-demonstration Thursday, March 7, 12:15 PM. Free; call 312-747-4800. Opens Friday, March 8, 8 PM. Through March 10: Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 2 PM. $20-$25; call 773-404-6871.

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

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