Dance - Me, myself and I

Spare Dances a frantic, refined mess

Picture this: Medieval Irish monks scribbling poems in the margins of sacred texts. Alongside the salvations, the "shalt nots" and the "begats" rest idle musings on pilgrimages, priestly promiscuity ... and one monk's favorite cat. Like schoolboys doodling in grammar books, the monks scratched little rebellions against their holy drudgeries. Servants of a triumvirate deity, they too were many in one: monks, men and cloistered troubadours.

Elizabeth Dishman, director of the Coriolis Dance Project, loves a good mess. Her Spare Dances — for 1, 2, 3 is an exploration of the sticky entanglements and knotted contradictions that spin together a self.

Continuing this Thursday at 7 Stages, Spare Dances opens with "Passing Cycle," which is set to a collection of those marginal Irish texts. "I'm interested in this intersection of their faith and their humanity," says Dishman. "Even within one's self, there are many different relationships happening."

There is no forced clarity in Spare Dances. In "Trinity," for example, three dancers move about the floor as individuals, each with her or his own style and flavor, but each also responding to and supporting the others, rigging the trio into an intricate whole. "I looked at those entanglements and found beauty there," says Dishman.

"Selfsame" dances the more discordant dynamics of multiplicity. Dishman and Duende Dance Theater's Amanda Exley Lower engage in a dueling duet of amplified motions and grandiose egos.

At times playful and pensive, energetic and refined, Spare Dances is a beautiful mess from one of the more promising companies in Atlanta's new generation of dancers.

Coriolis Dance Project presents Spare Dances — for 1, 2 and 3 through Sept. 29 at 7 Stages, 1105 Euclid Ave. Sept. 26-28 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. $8-$12. 404-523-7647. www.7stages.org.??

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