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BEST DANCE PERFORMANCE IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS Minneapolis 2001 -

Dance is no more philosophical than its legs, to paraphrase the choreographer Merce Cunningham. The synergy between choreographers and dancers is the stuff of which this art form is made, and it was present in abundance throughout Cathy Young's concert last May. The nine performers (including Young) are among the brightest and best on the local scene, and Young created dances that showcased their multifaceted talents. In "Verdance," for instance, Young's husband Chris Aiken improvised a tour-de-force solo. Energy slithered through his body as he channeled the unbridled polyrhythms of some explosive Ur-jazzdance form. The ensemble created riffs on Aiken's phrasing, exuberantly carrying his eccentric motion into the more familiar territory of Broadway rhythms and get-down urban streetdance. Later Young and Aiken performed a starkly sculpted duet in which their dancing poured forth like rich amber light, illuminating every nook of a compelling relationship. The final work on this program, "Night of Many Dreams," presented the image of violent storms raging within and around the performers. The eight dancers embodied Young's vision of a world in turmoil, whipping up an emotional tempest with an intensity approaching Armageddon's. But within the collective tumult, individual dance personalities emerged. For instance, while Christine Maginnis and Dana Holstad tended to pitch headfirst into the maelstrom, the lucid dancing of Aiken and Amy Behm gave Young's dramatic intensity an added dimension of tranquillity.

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