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'Bodies in Urban Spaces' Leads Milelong, Dance-Driven Tour Through Loop

 Images from Austrian choreographer Willi Dorner's "Bodies in Urban Spaces" performances in other cities are shown. The dance piece comes to Chicago June 21-22, sponsored by the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
Bodies in Urban Spaces
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THE LOOP — Look, up in the sky — it's not a bird, or a plane: It's a dancer, maintaining an uncomfortable pose in an impossible place in Chicago's Loop.

Spectacles featuring Chicago artists contorting themselves into the urban landscape will abound in the Loop June 21 and 22 when Austrian choreographer Willi Dorner brings his touring show "Bodies in Urban Spaces" Downtown.

Lizzie Schiffman discusses the urban art project:

Local dancers will perform Dorner's choreography at three free shows that weekend, at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday and one at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The shows are presented as a tour through the Loop, starting at Daley Plaza and winding along a 1-mile walk, concluding at an unnamed location Downtown.

"We walk past so many spaces every day, spaces we don't think about, like benches, walkways doorways, totally basic spaces," said Shoshona Currier, director of performing arts at Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, who has been working for the last year to bring the show to Chicago.

"This piece really helps you think about them in a different way," she said. "Then, the next time you walk by them, and there's no dancer jammed in there, you sort of revisit your memory of it, which is a great way to reshape space."

Dancers from local companies like Walkabout Theater and the Space Movement Project will "lead the audience on an entertaining journey utilizing public and semi-public spaces as their stage," according to the city's event announcement. Dancers use their bodies to create a temporary "chain of living sculptures" that "test the limitless physicality of the human body."

Dorner is the founder of Vienna-based dance company Cie. W. Dorner, and has directed "Bodies in Urban Spaces" across the globe.

The June 21 and 22 performances will be the Chicago premiere of the piece, part of a Midwest tour that includes a stop in Cincinnati.