Mikhail Baryshnikov & Ana Laguna | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Mikhail Baryshnikov & Ana Laguna 

"Three Solos and a Duet," at the Harris Theater, 9/25-9/27

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It's rare to see any dancer perform beyond the age of 50, but the remarkable duet on this program—Place, created for Ana Laguna, 54, and superstar Baryshnikov, 61, by Laguna's husband, Swedish choreographer Mats Ek—not only acknowledges but celebrates the dancers' maturity. Lifts and carries are slow and low; instead of dazzling technique, we see effort, emotion, and vulnerability. Not that Place is necessarily sad: the music, by Flaskkvartetten ("Flesh Quartet"), shifts feeling moment by moment as the dancers slip almost imperceptibly from challenging each other to reconciliation, from playing together to rejection, from frustration to comic boredom. In the oddest passage of all, Baryshnikov, as an artist of some kind having a late-night brainstorming session, channels Michael Jackson. The program, titled "Three Solos and a Duet," also includes Alexei Ratmansky's new Valse-Fantasie and Benjamin Millepied's updated Years Later, both danced by Baryshnikov, as well as Ek's Solo for Two, featuring Laguna and Baryshnikov.

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