Molly Shanahan’s Mad Shak performances tend to blur the line between the visible reality of the physical world and an emotional reality of an unseen, but no less perceptible one. Last year’s “And We Shall Be Rid of Them” at the Chicago Cultural Center with Jeff Hancock transported the audience into the psychological space between two intimates, often using tender humor and movement that simultaneously heightened and deepened the emotional sensitivity of the room. Promising a similar level of both emotional and dance virtuosity, Shanahan’s upcoming three-evening run at Links Hall expands on the Cultural Center show and explores some new directions. The performance is comprised of a solo, a duet and a trio. Shanahan’s solo, “Blackbird’s Ventriloquy,” looks to the past for its inspiration, taking up where the 2006 “My Name is a Blackbird” left off. “I am a complete movement geek; I always have been and that continues.” explains Shanahan. “I think of dance as a laboratory in which I have both the privilege and responsibility to reconsider and reimagine the ways in which movement patterns, habits, and aesthetics limit (but might actually expand) the ways we understand being human, and certainly how movement makes us more or less humane. I think of dance as a space for thinking and moving beyond the ways bodies get classified in ‘pedestrian’ life.” That reimagining takes shape this performance in “The Last Minute,” a trio choreographed for Shanahan, Hancock and company member Kristina Fluty which takes as its inspiration a dream of performance anxiety in which the solution is to pretend competency and survive. (Michael Workman)
Mad Shak at Links Hall, 3111 North Western, (773)281-0824. December 16-18 at 7pm. $10-$20. Tickets at linkshall.ticketfly.com.