RE|dance group is the brainchild of creative partners Lucy Vurusic Riner and Michael Estanich. For more than ten years, they have engaged in an ongoing long-distance collaboration spanning from the company’s and Riner’s home base of Chicago to Estanich’s home in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Inspired by the challenge to collectively make dances while living in different cities, they have developed an individualized process that involves devising movement material when together and formulating the conceptual grounding of their work when apart. This intentional dialogue has created the company’s signature theatrical approach to movement and has led to the development of a body of evocative dance theater that investigates the indelible intricacies of human relationships.
This month, the company kicks off its decennial season with the Chicago premiere of two companion pieces choreographed by Estanich, “The Biggest Wail From The Bottom Of My Heart” and “What Love Looks Like.” Together, these dance works offer a spectral musing on what it means to be civically engaged in today’s sociopolitical climate. The diptych does not overtly promote specific dogma or political agenda but instead proposes that we engage in the radical act of embracing our inescapable, shared humanness. Each piece, set within a different multimedia installation, interweaves movement, music, text and both sculptural and projected scenic components to create a surreal world that operates within its own unique logic.
“The Biggest Wail From the Bottom Of My Heart” opens the show with an iconic scene of the American Dream: a green patch of grass, a white picket fence and cumulous clouds floating in a picturesque sky. Suspended in the darkness of Hamlin Park’s black-box theater, this image gradually fractures and darkens revealing a sense of urgency and resistance amongst the eight-person ensemble. The performers bear futuristic costumes, designed by Krissy Sheshkoff, that emphasize the fragmentation of the looming sky. The collective group gradually transcends this darkness and evolves toward a state of individual empowerment grounded in social equity. Driven by themes of gender, sexuality and race, Estanich expresses that “the work subtlety calls attention to revolution. Feelings of despair and uncertainty are powerful mechanisms for change. A personal voice is a powerful voice. This work is a call to action, a plea, and a proclamation.” Its counterpart, “What Love Looks Like” takes place inside one of the celestial clouds. In stark visual contrast to the previous piece, the performers and set are draped in flowing white fabric and are poised against a white floor and backdrop enhanced by subtle lighting design by Sarah Lackner. According to Estanich, the piece is his image “of the future, where the possibility for love, sorrow and spirited acceptance are made manifest and an idealized lightness prevails.”
This performance event is the first of a series celebrating RE|dance group’s tenth season as a company. To learn more about this performance and what else RE|dance group has in store for us during their milestone year, check their website at www.redancegroup.org. (Alyssa Motter)
At the Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater, 3035 North Hoyne, (312)742-7785. Thursday and Friday, January 10-11, 17-18 at 7:30pm. $15-$20. Tickets available at www.brownpapertickets.com or at the door.