"Cover Band" | Dance review
From what I heard from audience members, and from what I saw last night during “Cover Band,” the interpretations were less imitation and more inspiration. Five artists found their groove at the Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater, not based on the style of Chicago Moving Company’s Nana Shineflug (which the show bills itself on), but rather her themes. So really, last night was about original work. And it was freakin’cool. Imitation or not, the evening proves a success for reasons of variety, each group/artist possessing a flare that carries the night in spades.
Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre opens with Altered. Queen’s “Somebody To Love” plays in the black, and just as the lights come up, revealing two dancers on stage, another springs from the wing and knocks down the centerpiece. It’s a signature opening from artistic director Joanna Rosenthal, who often likes to build and burn, then build again. This one’s all about changing, and perhaps not wanting to change. The movement gets laid out in dynamic patterns between four dancers, moving with, then without each other. But it’s the collective arc of the performance that hits the heartstrings, thanks in part due to Rosenthal’s ability to bring out the best, uninhibited physicality from her dancers.
My Sufi Tale wants you to look at your chakra, whether you know what chakra is or not (it happens to derive from Hindu and Buddhist spiritual practices of inner energy). “There are eight easy ways to improve chakra,” Margi Cole shouts. “Green is used to balance,” says the Dance COLEctive artistic director, while dressing herself in green garb. Cole repeats a whimsical movement phrase, finding the humor in obsession. This health nut can’t wait to improve her life by improving her chakra, even if her desire to improve is more of a problem than a solution. “Being vulnerable enables me to have an experience bigger than this dance. This is a story about surviving,” she says at the end.
Matthew Hollis follows Cole’s obsession with his own of sorts in Nancy in the Dustpan, a solo work that feels like watching someone dance alone in front of a mirror. Perhaps we’re not supposed to know it’s happening, but we watch regardless. Assuming different personalities, Hollis takes a stab at the all-encompassing theme of love. And damn if it’s not the funniest, retro rave, individual monologue/dance-off ever concocted. Hollis is magnetic as hell. By the end, you want to befriend the guy who just took love by the balls and hit it upside the head.
Next up: The confounding (in a good way) Peter Carpenter presents Rituals of Abundance for Lean Times #6: Pursuing Randomness. And pursuing randomness pretty much sums it up. There’s a charm in Carpenter’s style. His mess of text, explained metaphors and sequences of overlapping conversation make for engaging and alternately confusing segments. But if you’ve seen the choreographer’s Rituals series, confusion is sometimes the point. There’s lots to love, and lots to ponder in this Mad Hatter-banter dance.
crash/burn by Atalee Judy of BONEdanse took off from the get go, a nice little ride into a G.I. Jane-esque escape from Guantanamo Bay. A group of women don army fatigues and hit the stage running. They don’t stop, except for one brief interlude. Bricks get thrown around, and a light post substitutes as a ladder. The dancers invest in the madness and in the fray of their attacks, which somehow turns into an all-out blitz of gymnastics, jumping, turning and diving into oblivion.
"Cover Band" plays tonight, September 21, at the Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater. 7:30pm.