Ikuko's Wild Ride

Dance in the Shadow of Disaster

Argentine Erico Villanueva's Ikuko's Alter Ego (Flea Theater, Tuesdays at 10) draws on his ballet and acrobatics background, juxtaposing humor, sadness, alienation, and pop music. Sherry (Coming Home) is a private balletic solo, accompanied by an answering-machine message from hell and Blondie's "Hanging on the Telephone." Morning Class, a trio, skips through quirky alignment exercises. Ikuko is Villanueva's tour de force. In a white wig, six-inch platforms, transparent tights and top, and a miniskirt, singing in Japanese, Ikuko Ikari embodies Tokyo anime, leading a dramatic gymnastics competition on a line of tape, singing bubblegum tunes pop while Jimena Paz contorts on the floor. Like the best of British pop, Ikuko is fun and happy on the surface; a tragic sadness simmers below. —Shannon Brady Marin

Art and life collide on East Houston Street Fridays at 7, when Sarah Skaggs and her dancers perform high-intensity dance on a basketball court in Sara Delano Roosevelt Park. On the adjacent court, pickup games continue; dancers and crew return stray balls for players half their age. Eric Dunlap, Jae Gruenke, Jeremy Laverdure, Kathi McGowan, and Brittany Reese, in Balanchinian white shirts and black trousers, execute Skaggs's Get Out of the House with focus and skill, to music by the Chemical Brothers and Surrender. Crowds line the court, small children streak among the grown-ups, and I wonder why my eye keeps migrating to the hoop contest backgrounding the choreography. Probably because the athletes are improvising, alive to the moment and challenged by the unpredictable path of the ball, while the dancers are repeating a series of movements they've practiced for months. If you want to contemplate the relation of art to sport, this free event is the perfect laboratory.

 
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