Theater, Dance, Comedy and Performance in Chicago

How Memory Works

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Movement artists work with a complex and, at times, contradictory instrument. Our bodies are repositories for memories; emotions long stored within joints and muscles can be unlocked with a gesture or a touch. Likewise, the body is capable of purely spontaneous expression, of creating art that exists solely within the moment, the nuances of which can never be perfectly replicated. The three choreographers working with the Synapse Arts Collective in this weekend’s “Kinetic Current” at explore these themes with the aid of a little artistic cross-pollination.

“It’s an interdisciplinary performance,” says Synapse artistic director Rachel Damon. “Each movement artist is working with a medium they’ve never used before.” For Sabrina Cavins, the media in question are film and text. In her solo piece “Weaving a Trail of Difference,” Cavins explores familial ties and conflicts, giving voice to her grandmother with video footage and text derived from their conversations while addressing issues of conflict and difference through live movement.

Elisa Foshay, making her directorial debut, collaborates with Chef James Okuno to tickle the audience’s taste buds along with their olfactory sense memory. During Foshay’s “Dwelling” the audience is served foods selected to complement the choreography and to, as Damon puts it, “Evoke a palate of memories.”

In contrast, Damon’s own contribution is an invitation to the revelations of the moment. “2x2x2” is an improvised, durational piece incorporating voice and motion. “We’re a team working together,” Damon says of dancers John Peruzzi, Sonya Siefert and Laura Tennal in this series of three duets. “This is live-motion research for the coming year; each performance will be different.” Damon is joint recipient of the 2008 CROSSCUT grant through Experimental Sound Studio, a project that supports first-time collaboration between movement artists and musicians.

The spirit of fostering new talent is part of Synapse Arts Collective mission. “Kinetic Current” is the first show not under Damon’s direction. “We want to provide opportunities to emerging artists that they can’t get through school or professional internships,” she says. “Elisa has learned to produce an entire show with the aid of our resources. We want to continue to support these visions.” (Sharon Hoyer)

Synapse Arts Collective presents “Kinetic Current” June 20-21 at Links Hall, 3435 North Sheffield, (773)281-0824. $12.

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