Intense, jagged, and evocative, the dance of Emio Greco/PC combines classical and aggressively contemporary influences to stunning effect. The MCA presents the company’s performance of “Rimasto Orfano” (“Abandoned Orphan”) this weekend as part of its spring performance series, which it has dedicated to a rich sampling of contemporary choreography. Featuring music by Bang on a Can’s Michael Gordon, as well as a competing soundtrack of footfalls and breath, “Rimasto Orfano” sets the Dutch company in a spare, if dazzlingly lit, setting: the minimal space is highlighted by the dancers’ ghostly white shifts. The movement that ensues pushes toward the extreme: dancers flagellate themselves with their arms, whirl like Sufi devotees, or make themselves into living Surrealist sculptures. The effect is simultaneously that of an enigmatic violence, like you might find in a Francis Bacon painting, and of a primal, Dionysian power, as if the company, despite the utterly modern setting, has tapped into the ancient sources of dance. The physical precision and kinesthetic creativity displayed by the dancers (and managed by choreographer Emio Greco and director Pieter C. Sholten, or PC) hauntingly defy the limits of their own physicality. Greco has been described as in command of an exciting and eccentric dance vocabulary, but it seems to me more correct to say that he and his company explode the idea of vocabulary in dance, setting every fluid or thrashing gesture on the road to its own freedom. (John Beer)
Emio Greco/PC’s “Rimasto Orfano” plays at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago, (312)397-4010, April 8-10.