The Seldoms, WCdance at Ruth Page | Dance Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Seldoms, WCdance at Ruth Page 

Chicago and Taiwanese dance troupes perform together

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Fabric is used as blankie, bedcover, and cocoon in Otaku's Beach

Fabric is used as blankie, bedcover, and cocoon in Otaku's Beach

David Tsao

The Far East won't seem so far when Taiwan-based WCdance shares a stage—and dancers—with Chicago's Seldoms. Beach towels become the unlikely psychological anchor for an evocative, culture-straddling new sextet, Otaku's Beach, created for the Seldoms by WCdance artistic director (and former Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company member) WenChung Lin. Festooned with goldfish, the neon-colored towels might refer to the bright fabrics used in Chinese traditional dance (Lin's mother directed a Chinese folk-dance troupe). But the way they're used—as blankies, bedcovers, cocoons—suggests metaphors for emotional safety. The music, combining squeaky door noises with Chinese traditional strings and percussion, sounds a lot like the score for another, older Lin piece on the program: Small River (Reversed), which embodies, first, the circles and eddies in a stream, and then the tossing of turbulent water.

Seldoms artistic director Carrie Hanson contributes excerpts from her upcoming evening-length piece Exit Disclaimer: Science and Fiction Ahead, devoted to our furious, tangled battles over the environment. The Seldoms perform the opening bits, but Hanson has set the final section on Lin's dancers, dividing them into haves and have-nots and placing some on dancer-sized lazy Susans—where, unexpectedly, they become the diners rather than the meal.

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