Preview: The Dance COLEctive “free[Bound]”

TDC Artistic Director Margi Cole at age 13.

This weekend The Dance COLEctive (TDC) presents free [Bound] in four performances featuring two premieres and a revival from the company’s 13th season. For the first time, TDC will be performing at Stage 773 in Lakeview. “It’s a nice, intimate setting,” said artistic director Margi Cole. “I think my work is better served in a smaller theater.”

In a fun marketing campaign for the show, TDC posted pictures of the dancers at age 13 on their Facebook page, a nod to Cole’s 2009 work 13, which is being restaged for the performances this week. According to Cole, “13 is: awkward moments, about being embarrassed, trying to own who you are and be ok with it, as well as the pros and cons and uncomfortable situations of being age 13.” Spoken text – the final monologue was written by her niece at age 14 – adds to the texture and character of the work.

A new work by Cole, in orderly fashion, places limitations on the seven dancers to create an uncomfortable, disconnected feel. “I wanted the feeling of being a commuter, of going from point to point without having any intimacy,” Cole said. “We made a ‘contract’…basically a list of things we wouldn’t or couldn’t do. Each dancer’s was different and then they had to come together to negotiate how to do the material.” She admits this proved for a frustrating process at times, but the result was movement charged with a weird energy. “We usually spend a lot of time working on making the movement comfortable, but not this time. I’m ok with that…I’m not sure they are.”

Also on the program is a new solo work created on Cole by choreographer Molly Shanahan. The two previously worked together when Cole danced for Shanahan’s company Mad Shak in the ’90s. Shanahan is currently studying for a PhD in Dance at Temple University in Pennsylvania. The solo, titled Leaving & Wanting, deals with major life changes and the emotional, physical and psychological repercussions they may bring. While the two worked together over the summer, Shanahan’s mother passed away. Add to that the fact that Shanahan was preparing to move and the heatwave they were rehearsing in and, as Cole said, “There was a lot going on.” Aside from these challenges, the two clearly respect each other and enjoyed working together. Cole describes the process as humbling, satisfying and challenging. “The hard part is the transformative, performative element,” she said. Say what? “Molly talks about the audience being a witness. Trying to be transparent, while being in the moment and not performing it…it’s hard.”

The Dance COLEctive presents free [Bound] at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 17-19 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25, $20 for students. Call 773.327.5252 or visit