Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rivernorth Chicago Dance Company: Superb, As Always

Rivernorth Chicago dancers Cassandra Porter, Christian Denice, and Hanna Brictson in Tuscan Rift

Rivernorth Chicago came to town this week and gave a performance that affirmed my contention that this company is among the (if not the) most consistently inventive, delightful, and technically skilled contemporary dance companies performing today. The entire evening of seven dances was wonderful (with maybe one exception--Ella--danced to an energetic scat medley by Ella Fitzgerald), but two stood out above the rest: the first dance, Evolution of a Dream (2009), and the fourth, Forbidden Boundaries (2009).

Evolution of a Dream was a wee bit too frenetic and spastic for my anal-retentive demeanor, but the music was great, the energy was intense, and dancers were spot on. My wife turned to me after the applause died down and asked, "How are they going to top that?"

Well, they topped it with Forbidden Boundaries, a high point in a many splendored evening. The dancers were clad in sheer white blouses over white Speedo-tight shorts and halter tops. The bodies were perfect--especially that of Christian Denise (pictured above), who is incredibly well built but yet almost impossibly flexible. The dancers' blouses billowed like clouds that instantly transformed into restraints as partners yanked the blouses over the heads and shoulders of the dancers or bound their arms with the stretched sleeves. The piece built to a dazzling climax as the dancers finally rejected their restraints and boundaries, casting them onto the floor

I've seen Rivernorth Chicago three times before and have never been disappointed. The standing ovation they received on Saturday evening was more than well deserved.