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Performing arts

Bipeds and nomads

Hedwig, SPDW join forces
Hedwig, SPDW join forcesCourtesy of Eileen Ryan Photography & William Frederking

Two established Chicago dance companies, with an eclectic post-modern sensibility, team up for a joint concert titled Walking...Drifting Nov. 5, 11 and 12 at Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater, 3035 N. Hoyne. Though varied in style, Hedwig Dances and Same Planet Different World Dance convey a loose theme of moving backwards and forward in time.

Despite patterns that suggest power plays and staking one's claim, Michele Rodriguez's Walking really dissects the way our bodies fall into rhythmic patterns during the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other. The Hedwig Dances ensemble member was initially inspired by the idea that when dancers walk on stage, they tend to look too posed or presentational. He wanted to humanize their body language by testing out a more believable pedestrian approach. One section mirrors the range of walking styles of commuters filing out of a train station or bodies flowing out of a downtown office building at quitting time. A duet features two women who drop their torsos and try to prop each other up to symbolize a low-blood-sugar-induced mid-day slump. Two men convey aloofness and antagonism at a bus stop.

In Drifting for Nomads, her latest group work for Same Planet Different World, Joanna Rosenthal has crafted a compelling reflection on the shaky notion of stability at a time of high unemployment, home foreclosures and natural disasters. Though non-linear, an inner narrative emerges from her dancers who seem to represent a diverse smattering of individuals beginning to forge a new, more consolidated sense of community and space. Yet they still hang on to the past -- evoked at the start of the dance as two performers enter backwards, then fall, and struggle to rise and move forward. One man drags his foot; a woman defiantly repeats a rhythmic phrase. Clearly these are people straining to restore something they’re about to lose…like the slowly fading photographs in the movie Back to the Future.

The program also features the choreography of Ginger Farley and New York's Andrea Miller. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $15. Visit www.brownpapertickets.com. More info: www.hedwigdances.com or www.spdwdance.org.

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New York-based Ballet Hispanico performs Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph Drive in something of a homecoming for new artistic director Eduardo Vilaro (founder and former head of Chicago's Luna Negra Dance Theater). The contemporary Latino company brings three distinctly different works: Talley Beatty's 1973 Tres Cantos, an intense evocation of the indigenous Mexican people's strength at the time of Spanish conquest; Annabelle Opez Ochoa's latest piece, Mad'moiselle, examining iconic Latina gender roles; and Pedro Ruiz's 2000 Club Havana, an homage to the multiple fused rhythms of Cuban culture. Tickets: $35-$60. Call 312-334-7777 or visit www.harristheaterchicago.org. More info: www.ballethispanico.org.

Ailey II, the apprentice company of New York's Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, stops here for one night, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m., with introspective and bravura pieces by Donald Byrd and Robert Moses. Performances take place at the Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University, 1 University Pkwy., University Park. Tickets: $29-$58. Call 708-235-2222 or visit www.centertickets.net. More info: www.alvinailey.org.

Dance Chicago, now in its 16th season of showcasing multi-genre local troupes, continues through Nov. 21 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. Participating groups include Chicago Dance Crash, Urban Movement, NoMi LaMad Dance, and the Mexican Dance Ensemble. Tickets: $27-$35. Call 773-327-5252 or visit www.dancechicago.com.

DanceWorks Chicago offers a free sneak peek Nov. 5 at 12:30 p.m. into a new dance choreographed by former Hubbard Street dancer Brian Enos, set to a Vivaldi cello concerto, at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St. Next week, on Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. (also at Ruth Page), DWC presents Dance Chance, where audiences can view works in progress by Louis Jackson, Andre Zachery and James Johnson, with guest moderator Harrison McEldowney. Tickets: $3. More info: www.danceworkschicago.org.

Dance Union continues its experimental dance-music series, curated by Ayako Kato, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. at the Menomonee Club's Drucker Center, 1535 N. Dayton. This month's theme is Noise and Movement, which aims to address the different physical interpretations of noise. Tickets: $10-$12. More info: http://danceunion.tumblr.com/

New York's Big Dance Theater locally debuts Comme Toujours Here I Stand, a multimedia dance-theater experience that reinvents on many levels the French New Wave film, Cleo from 5 to 7, for the stage, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 7 at 3 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Art Theater, 220 E. Chicago Ave. Tickets: $22-$28. Call 312-397-4010 or visit www.mcachicago.org.

The well-regarded Chicago Humanities Festival, a series of lectures and performances in several venues across the city throughout the month of November, has the body as its central theme....which means a number of programs devoted to dance. For a full schedule, visit www.chicagohumanities.org.

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