The touch of a hand, the feel of the noose | Dance Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The touch of a hand, the feel of the noose 

"Vanishing Points" offers four works from Hedwig Dances

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Four passionate dances come to Stage 773 this weekend.

Four passionate dances come to Stage 773 this weekend.

William Frederking

Hedwig Dances goes for the gut in "Vanishing Points." Passion, sumptuous dancing, and a psychological focus unify this program of four pieces, three of which are premieres by Cuban-born choreographers. Company member Michel Rodriguez gets under the skin big-time with his new quintet, Por Dentro ("Inside"). An almost voyeuristic compendium of ways to touch—neurotic self-checking, playing tag, sexual caresses—the piece fascinates and disturbs on a deep level. Centered on the image of a thick noose around one dancer's neck, Judith Sanchez Ruiz's new duet, It's Not About You, is nearly as unsettling.

Dance of Forgotten Steps, a 2010 sextet by Hedwig artistic director Jan Bartoszek, shows off the company's genius for stark but expressive design. Devoted to the ongoing influence of long-gone communities, it uses video projections on movable screens to confuse substance and shadow. A similar ingenuity marks Victor Alexander's new male trio, Line of Sighs, which features a web of long bungees arrayed like the warp yarns on a loom. Capable of sound and shimmering transformation, the cords bind and separate the men, whose rough moves resemble the action of a weaver's shuttle.

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