The floor is bathed in fluorescent red light. The fifteen dancers, outfitted in designer Laura Hazlett’s monochromatic silver sheer costumes, boast sinewy bodies that writhe with a gesture one moment and instantaneously melt into graceful elongation the next. Then, picking up the hypnotic beat of composer Paul Dresher’s live industrial music, the ensemble burst into an explosion of wonderfully restrained, pulsating restlessness. And that’s just the first fifteen minutes. Choreographer Margaret Jenkins’ seventy-five-minute “A Slipping Glimpse,” an evening-length dance concert collaboration between members of the Calcutta, India-based Tanusree Shankar Dance Company and Jenkins’ own San Francisco troupe, is an alluring East-meets-West hybrid of modern dance that’s difficult to categorize. That’s OK, especially since once your eyes and ears begin settling into a particular pattern of movement or sound, Jenkins’ direction or Dresher’s music might mutate into something completely different. A classically trained Indian quartet featuring Eastern-flavored music gives way to a jazzy large-group number underscored by a steady rock beat. A dancer focuses his energy onto the most minimal physical gesture—the tap of a shoulder—as energetically as they do an Olympian-sized lift. And so on with this study of opposites, and in the words of Jenkins, a piece “conceived at a vertiginous moment in history when it’s often difficult to tell on which side of the looking glass we are standing—or dancing.” For this presentation, production designer Alexander V. Nichols will transform the dance center into a theater-in-the-round configuration in which platforms and cantilevered walkways will nestle between four sections of the audience, guaranteeing a multiple-focus staging effect, and the evening will begin with an outdoor prologue a couple of blocks from the auditorium, weather permitting. Like a mood music album brought to choreographic life, the vertiginous “A Slipping Glimpse” promises to be a soothing and sexy dose of kinetic and aural sensations, as well as a great kickoff to the Columbia College Dance Center’s 2007-2008 Season. (Fabrizio O. Almeida)
At the Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, (312)344-8300. This production is now closed.