Mordine & Company Dance Theatre | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Mordine & Company Dance Theatre 

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Shirley Mordine's new work, Fragile, seems to depict the essence of theatricality--our interest in both acting out and watching stories. Her dancers take turns participating in some vignettes and observing others, passing the focus from one group to another throughout the middle section, the only part I saw. Set to recorded music by Dave Pavkovic and lit by Margaret Nelson, Fragile is meant to suggest the shadows thrown from doorways--and as Mordine says, "There are a lot of voyeurs in the piece." The dancers often seem out of touch: a woman follows, then slithers facedown in front of a man, paying rapt attention to him while he seems oblivious to her even as he walks between her spread thighs. Later they put their cheeks close together but without actually touching. Also on the program is a new piece by Ishmael Houston-Jones, with a commissioned score by Pavkovic. For Nowhere/Now Here Houston-Jones spent four weeks collaborating with the Mordine & Company dancers to create a text about home and origins; they produced long lists of places they'd lived, and during the piece they sometimes run to the front of the stage to shout out addresses. Oddly, this suggests not home but the lack thereof, a permanent rootlessness. Like children at play, they look at once frolicsome and aggressive, supportive and competitive. Perhaps that's the result of Houston-Jones's structured improvisations; though much of the piece will be set, improvised sections will remain in the finished work. Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-344-8300. Opens Thursday, April 26, 8 PM. Through April 28: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $20. FamilyDance matinee Sunday, April 29, 3 PM, with a free parent-child workshop at 2:15 PM. $10, $6 for children. Note: Houston-Jones will present a master class on his "autobiographical fiction" technique Saturday, April 21, 1-4 PM at Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield. $20. A company benefit follows the Friday performance. $60, or $110 for two.

--Laura Molzahn

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

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