Dance moves

Friday, March 5, 2010

The River North Chicago Dance Company performed in Bedell Performance Hall on Tuesday, and as part of their visit, they held a free master dance class Monday. "Open to the public" and "geared toward all levels" coaxed me into the practice room. In case there's any doubt, I'm in the lower level.

I don't speak dance. To keep up in a dance class taught by a professional touring dancer, you should either speak dance or be able to quickly pick out the English words in "First, right, lift, demipointe, flex, blueshebu, arabesque, doopdedoo, demi-plie" and on and on and oops wrong way and what's the difference between releve and eleve?

I have had a little informal training, so some dance basics were lying in the back of my brain and vaguely familiar to my muscles -- familiar like passing your second-grade teacher on an escalator after 20 years.

The best thing about dance, though, is much of it is monkey see, monkey do. So I did. And I survived (and I took two Aleve afterward).

To see what years of dance classes and practice can yield, I went to the River North show Tuesday and, of course, loved it. The folks behind me, not so much. River North is a modern dance troupe and the first half of the show features more eccentric interpretations to the music. During a break I overheard them say, "Well, I'm glad I came tonight because I'm never going to one of these again."

It broke my heart. Dance encompasses such a broad spectrum of movement and styles, and these people were signing off on the experience after three pieces.

But dance did as dance does, and the second half of the program featured colorful costumes and Latin-inspired, more familiar moves and by curtains, they had "really enjoyed it."

Try it next time. You might, too.

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