Two dance companies—one all-female, the other all-male—share the Dance Center’s stage in a March program that’s more “make love, not  war” than “battle of the sexes.” In the Chicago première of Les Écailles de la mémoire (The Scales of Memory), New York’s Urban Bush Women and Senegal’s Compagnie JANT-BI employ athletic and sensual movement to form a figurative chain of memory, stretching from the dancers’ common African ancestry to their contemporary experiences. Think of the performance, JANT-BI artistic director Germaine Acogny says, as a kinetic rendering of “négritude,” the 1930s movement celebrating black identity. Genders blur as ultimately the performers try to find themselves. 


Photograph: Alzo Slade