Chicago Dance Crash | Dance review
Like a Synergy drink or a Kombucha, Chicago Dance Crash is a pure mix of unadulterated, raw ingredients: a potent surprise upon first taste, and deliciously smooth by drinks end. It’s not about additives for this crew’s natural movers.
Last night, the company opened its 2012 Fall Concert at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. The troupe produced seven pieces in a concert setting, sans an all-encompassing gimmick. It’s an awesome and welcome format, and suits the company extremely well. This past summer’s “Gotham City” had invention and energy, but the theme-show packed a lot in two acts. Here, the pieces sustain equal amounts vigor, with comfortable distance and pauses in between.
Act one opens with Jessica Deahr and Mark Hackman’s I Didn’t Realize I Wasn’t Minding My Own, a nice snapshot of tricks in the battleground of a desolate scene. Six dancers take their solos in a quiet display of skill, each with his or her own signature trick: a windmill kick, some back inversions, flips and handstands. Deahr and Hackman design an appreciation of hip-hop’s sometimes singular, reverent act of confrontation.
Daniel Gibson negotiates a nostalgic riff on what lies ahead in Reminiscing On My Future. The synthesized beats of David Guetta recall a 90s video game. The dancers dress in silver tights, and the music pounds with the urgency of Mortal Kombat frenzy. The score sometimes overpowers the choreography, with its blazing pulse of club riot and gamer sound effects, though the pairing can also work well for Gibson’s brazen work of the past influencing the future.
In We Deal With It In Different Ways by Lindsey Rhoads, a couple faces the realities of their differences, moving in unison and varied solos. The pain of inevitable separation looms. Set to music by Imogen Heap, the choreography could easily have fallen in timid or mushy territory. Instead, the movement remains intensely physical. The emotion spins from the realization that the differences have created too much of a gap for the relationship to survive. For anyone that’s ever been through a breakup, you’ll recognize the effects. It certainly resonates, and the piece feels like one of the show highlights.
Nick Pupillo’s act one closer, Eins, and the second act’s The Social Element from Rich Ashworth, are entertaining bits that could benefit by cutting back a smidge. Different in style and scope (Pupillo’s is more contemporary modern, Ashworsh is more hip-hop/breaking), both are visually masterful, no doubt. Shades of anything else, however, go missing with a reliance on the flash-factor.
They All Seem Sweet from Stephanie Martinez is the night’s most ambitious work. The dancers dress in white bottoms and red tops, standing, sitting and jumping from chairs. The beginning starts strong, but thumps in the middle during a noticeable shift. Martinez bounces back, though, as the later half of the nearly 11-minute piece subsequently picks up steam.
Where Martinez’s piece is ambitions, the most inventive work of the evening is Jon Lehrer’s Morphic Slip. In dim light, the cast wears full-body unitards, slipping and sliding in canon to music from Aphex Twin, a score that blends the Far East with sharp bits of techno scattered throughout. The dancers—smooth in their transitions—are reminiscent of koi fish swimming in approximated rhythm, albeit in a much more vibrant, Chicago Dance Crash-kind-of-way.
Catch the Chicago Dance Crash 2012 Fall Concert at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts Saturday 10, Friday 16 and Saturday 17th at 8pm. Purchase tickets at ruthpage.org.