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June 6, 2005 // UPDATED 1:55 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

'Cold Comfort'

Science, social issues and environment - all of which sometimes seem at odds with abstraction or art - are the forces that drive choreographer Karen Sherman. She makes form and function equal partners in her silly and serious takes on the human condition.

With movement inspired by the restrictions that winter apparel such as coats and other gear impose, the children's game "Twister," Arctic animals, avalanches and other miscellaneous gestures, "Cold Comfort" is an unpredictable dance performance about the difficulties of survivalin Antarctica.

All of which is based on real research from expeditions through this icy, isolated no-man's land.

Dancers portray solitude, passion, cravings and the lack of all of those things. She reveals the tension between plunging temperatures and instinctive reactions.

- F-Sa June 10-12; F-Sa 8 p.m., Su 7 p.m. Red Eye, 15 W. 14th St. 870-0309, www.theredeye.org

'A Body of Water'

One morning during a 15-hour train ride, I woke up not knowing what language was being spoken or what country I was in. Since it was such a long route, I'd drifted to sleep without setting an alarm or even knowing how to spell/pronounce my destination (not a recommended way to go about things). I didn't even know whether or not I'd missed my rail stop or not (this was a journey from northern France to Italy).

I wasn't prepared to speak in French or Italian and could barely even utter elementary greetings such as Bonjour! This sort of haziness is what the play "A Body of Water" is based on.

Things are pretty surreal when a couple wakes up in a weird house nestled into a mountainside. Unlike me, they weren't en route to some far off destination where they got lost. In the same way that horror movies lack logical impetus, they just went to bed and woke up somewhere else. As far as they knew. After all, they don't remember deciding to take an extended hike or to find a romantic escape.

Their plight is kind of funny at first, until they've gotten to digest it.

I suppose it wouldn't be so bad to sniff the pure, clear air from their peak and peer out onto a bright blue stream nearby in an idyllic setting. But this unfamiliarity doesn't wear off.

So is it just a dream or a nightmare? Or are they really there after all? Illustrating what happens when long-term memory fades or becomes temporary, this existential rendezvous with reality can be seen as frightening and beautiful.

- Tu-Su June 11-July ; Tu-F 7:30 p.m., Sa 1 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., Su 1 p.m. & 7 p.m. (alternately). Guthrie Lab, 700 N. 1st St. $22-$26. 377-2224. www.guthrielab.org.