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Blonde on blonde on blonde
Ten Marilyn Monroes dance the night away

If one Marilyn Monroe is good, then ten must be better. Although a dreary Hallow's Eve depletes the ranks by eight, the rehearsal goes on, undaunted like its muse and patron saint. Led by Chicago-based choreographer Rachel Thorne Germond, the dance represents what she calls Monroe's "embodiment of paradox." Based on a performance-art piece, "5 Marilyns," originally done while she was an MFA student at the University of Illinois, Germond has expanded and opened this to her Links Hall dance workshop students, some of whom are dancing for the first time. "I wanted the workshop students to reinterpret the piece, to take emotions in pop culture and make them abstract and profound," she says. In less than two weeks, Germond took ten divergent interpretations of Marilyn and shaped them into a comprehensive dance. Effortlessly switching personas, dancer Andrea Gerniglia pulls off her Marilyn wig, revealing her dewy youthfulness. Participating in this dance, she began to experience that paradox of strength, defenselessness and siren-next-door quality Marilyn brought to the screen. "My only reference to Marilyn is through pop culture," she notes. With gestures drawn from films like "The Misfits," "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," and "Some Like It Hot," the dancers alternatively reveal Marilyn's innocence and insouciance from her hyper-feminine nude pinups to the more world-weary film star stumbling across the stage in pain. Dressed simply in black with blonde curly wigs, the workshop students make Marilyn seem more real and less maudlin. They come to praise her, not to make her into a character. The Marilyn dance premieres at Links Hall at 3435 North Sheffield, (773) 281-0824, at 8pm, November 7-9. (2002-11-06) Copyright Newcity Communications, Inc.

-Tracey Lewis, New City Press
Chicago, IL