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‘Body Passages’: Embodying Poetry

A new performance series curated by a recent SAIC grad combines the art of dance with the art of spoken-word poetry.

By Entertainment

Image Courtesy of Sara Maslanka

Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble strives to meld different performance and visual arts to create “multidisciplinary storytelling in the genre of Tanztheater.” Their next project, “Body Passages,” is a night of devised pieces that combine the poetry of local writers and dance.

Recent School of the Art Institute MFA Writing graduate, Natasha Mijares, has been acting as a facilitator of the event with Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble’s Artistic Director, Sara Maslanka. Mijares has been dreaming of collaborating with dancers since January and “instantly clicked” with Maslanka.

“To me, [a sense of] movement is something I want my language to be constantly considering and living in,” Mijares told F Newsmagazine in an interview. “I have tried to guide the poets with this in mind.” For Mijares, “A body is a floor plan for language.”

This is the cornerstone of “Body Passages” where a phrase of poetry becomes a phrase of movement inciting a constant conversation between the body and the written word. Mijares hopes the audience can find answers to inquiries about how their bodies and language intersect: “What do we make room for in our exchanges with other bodies? What gets shrouded? What is spilling out?”

“Art is a conversation,” Maslanka agrees, “fusing [language and movement] allows us the opportunity to deepen the connection and conversation with our audience.”

Like Danztheater’s spring season: “Consumed” and “Ethereal Abandonment,” “Body Passages” is certain to provoke questions from its audience through an impressive multimedia performance.

The artistic combination of language and body seems natural. “I just think about those who use their hands when talking,” says Maslanka, “body and language are a map to personal culture and stories.” With that in mind, “Body Passages” promises to be an atlas.

“Body Passages” runs on Saturday, August 19, at 7 pm (1650 W. Foster Ave), and on Sunday, August 20, at 7 pm at Uncommon Ground (1401 W. Devon Ave). Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door.

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