A clutch of visitors from Russia are not drenched in classical ballet; they’re part of a cutting-edge scene in St. Petersburg and Moscow. In fact, they have something in common with the original Judson Dance Theater of the 1960s—a sense of going back to the beginning, of the headiness of experimentation, careers be damned. The characteristic Russian soulfulness is channeled into quirky movements and gestures, with whimsical, awkward, or surreal results.
This program includes members of four companies. Kannon Dance Company shows Come and Go, a nifty trio for feisty women who spar for a few inches of space on a bench. Choreographed by artistic director Natalya Kasparova, a force in contemporary dance and dance film in St. Petersburg, it goes from clownish to clever in the blink of an eye.
Oleg Soulimenko, a gangly, brainy guy who helped start contact improvisation jams in Russia, has a sly way of subverting expectations. Anna Garafeeva is an intense, serenely devilish improviser reminiscent of Grand Union days. Mikhail Ivanov of the anarchistic Iguan Dance Theatre brings four dancers who can tangle their wayward limbs into knots. The performance, part of the Mississippi/ Volga Dance Exchange, is sponsored by the Minneapolis-based Link Vostok, which helps organize a biennial dance festival in Yaroslavl, Russia.