Pound for pound, the Big Festival’s two dance programs so far have provided some of the most concentrated entertainment and artistry in the whole opening weekend. Israel’s Batsheva Company also reminded — like a kick to the head — why dance is such a powerful form of visual and emotional expression. City Paper critic Eliza Ingle put it far better than I can, when she wrote that in their dancing, there’s “such depth of feeling and distillation of movement, it’s like understanding another language without knowing what the words are.”

Montreal-based acrobats/gymnasts Rubberbandance Group (at right) fused breakdancing, hip-hop, and modern dance into a mesmerizing collection of works that at times looked like a combination of physical combat and fast-motion tai chi. The cargos-and-jeans-clad dancers slung each other about, intwining themselves in each other’s arms and legs, rolling across backs and shoulders, treating their partners like they were life-sized hand puppets. The music selections were as unconventional as the dancing. A favorite of mine was the work “Exercise in Wholeness and Awareness,” danced to Saul Williams’ trip-hoppy “Ohm.” Give it a listen here. (It’s not the same as seeing it danced, obviously, but you’ll hear what I mean when I say it’s out of the ordinary.)


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