Recent financial upheaval and the roller-coaster ride of the ongoing culture wars feed Keith Hennessy’s Turbulence. Hennessy and his contemporary dance-theater outfit, Circo Zero, mine Wall Street hijinks and Main Street disgust in a piece where orgiastic writhing and populist anger come together in chaotic and fascinating fashion. But that shouldn’t come as any big surprise, considering Hennessy has danced away from whatever might be considered safe since his ’80s days in San Francisco’s wonderfully wild and woolly Contraband company. In the intervening years, he co-founded San Francisco’s experimental performance-art coalition 848 Community Space and has taught and performed the world over, winning two Isadora Duncan Awards and a New York Dance and Performance Award (better known as a Bessie) in the process. Turbulence, which Hennessy began developing in June as part of a working residency in Portland, is about turmoil, and not only the financial sort. Hennessy also touches on torture, war, justice, capitalism and queer politics. Hennessy is joined in this endeavor by Jules Beckman, a multi-instrumentalist and former fellow Contraband member. Additional Circo Zero members include aerialist-dancer Emily Leap and performance/installation artist Seth Eisen.
There is a political edge to the work of choreographer Faustin Linyekula, too. Le Cargo, his first solo piece, reflects years of war and all its attendant horrors in his native Congo (formerly Zaire). Linyekula now runs Studios Kabako, a training ground for young Congolese dancers, actors, musicians and video artists. His isn’t a dour outlook; that studio work, which has taken him on tours through Africa, Europe and the United States, is at heart the creation of an optimist who sees a future populated by Congolese artists in various disciplines. Le Cargo is about memory, but also about the suppression of memory. Like Turbulence, it was inspired in part by financial collapse and the anxiety that comes with it, although it is a more stripped-down performance than Circo Zero’s: just one man, plus music and text, to tell the tale.
SEE IT: Turbulence is at the Imago Theatre, 17 SE 8th Ave. 8:30 pm Tuesday-Friday, Sept. 11-14. $20-$25. Le Cargo is at Portland Center for the Performing Arts, 1111 SW Broadway. 6:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 13-15. $20-$25. Visit pica.org/TBA.