Photo courtesy Katie Graves
Melissa Thodos and company have had several fruitful collaborations over the years, most recently with celebrated Broadway director Ann Reinking. Their winter concert reprises their most recent project together, the warmly received dance-theater piece based on the relationship between Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan, entitled “A Light in the Dark.” Thodos has worked extensively to make this performance accessible to hearing- and vision-impaired communities with discounted tickets, live audio descriptions of the show and Braille programs. The centerpiece of the program features a new collaborator, one outside the world of the performing arts. Enter architect Jeanne Gang, who, in partnership with physicist Sidney Nagel at the University of Chicago, created vacuum-supported set structures that will respond to the movements of the dancers, in a piece that seeks the intersections between science and dance. Two more pieces round out the program: “Tsuru,” a full company piece by Hubbard Street Rehearsal Director Lucas Crandall and “Panem Nostrum Quoditianum” (“Our Daily Bread”) by River North Dance company member Ahmad Simmons. (Sharon Hoyer)
At the Harris Theater, 205 East Randolph, (312)334-7777. Saturday, March 8 at 7:30pm and Sunday, March 9 at 2pm. $20-$60.
Photo: Paul Kolnik
In his third year at the helm of Alvin Ailey’s renowned troupe, Robert Battle has admirably continued to honor the tradition and ethos of the company while challenging its boundaries with relevant and unexpected new works. The new pieces presented in Ailey’s two-week run at the Auditorium Theatre strike a complementary contrast in both aesthetic and approach. Wayne McGregor’s “Chroma” is a sleek, high-speed, minimalist ballet demanding contortionist flexibility and razor-sharp precision. Contrast that to Aszure Barton, who didn’t begin choreographing her commissioned “LIFT” until she had met and observed the dancers for a few days in the studio. Both music, by Barton’s collaborator Curtis Macdonald, and the joyful choreography were built for and inspired by the dancers. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo: Angela Sterling
This performance has been postponed. Check back for updated performance dates and times.
Expect crossover crowds at the Friday night performance of Alonzo King LINES: some to see virtuosic contemporary ballet at its height and some to hear live the legendary classical and jazz bassist Edgar Meyer. San Francisco-based King and his company are known for fertile collaborative projects—last year with Chicago’s Hubbard Street Dance—and for this visit, they bring an impressive set of collaborators in tow: Meyer, who will accompany with a piece he composed for LINES Ballet’s thirtieth anniversary and, on Thursday night, Israeli mezzo-soprano Maya Lahyani in her Chicago debut. Lahyani sings part of the score of King’s “Constellation,” an evening-length work woven through a thousand points of light. Read the rest of this entry »
The creation of life, death and grieving, pure beauty, perfect love—these were the bold colors on John Neumeier’s palate when he made the strokes for his monumental, abstract masterpiece, set to Mahler’s Third Symphony. Neumeier’s magnum opus, choreographed in 1975, is a massive, ambitious work set to the entirety of Mahler’s score: six movements that invite the viewer into an unadorned, dreamlike landscape of archetypes, pure feeling and dreams. The Third Symphony is an emotionally driven ballet—sometimes to a fault—but the unflagging sincerity of the choreography and the dancers performing it (Neumeier, a Milwaukee native, has been the primary choreographer for the Hamburg Ballet for decades) make moments that could feel maudlin in the hands of another into the hallmarks of genius. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo: Michel Cavalca
The end of February heats up in the South Loop with two weeks of hip-hop performances, workshops, battles and discussions hosted by the Dance Center of Columbia College. The week of the seventeenth features a panel discussion on masculinity in B-boy culture, an all-day symposium on the history of Chicago House music, breaking and old school workshops, a breaking battle and an MC battle, all leading up to two weekends of performances by visiting artists. February 20-22, France’s Compagnie Kafig presents two pieces created for a cast of young male dancers from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro; “Agwa,” in which plastic cups of water become tools for playful acrobatics, and “Correria,” a witty study of running that tricks the eye while eliciting smiles of delight. The following weekend, Raphael Xavier visits from Philadelphia with his reflection on three decades of breaking entitled “The Unofficial Guide to Audience Watching Performance,” an evening-length work that uses a blend of dance, storytelling and rhymes to relate one man’s creative evolution. Like hip-hop? This is the month to see it, hear it, do it. (Sharon Hoyer)
Compagnie Kafig performs February 20-22 at 8pm. Raphael Xavier performs February 27-March 1 at 8pm. $26-$30. Both performances at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 South Michigan, (312)369-8330. Full schedule of events at colum.edu/Dance_Center.
Photo: Christopher Duggan
The Joffrey dancers are posed with new challenges this winter as the company presents a program of all twenty-first-century works, including a piece by a Chicagoan for the first time in a decade. Brock Clawson is an ex-Thodos dancer-turned-choreographer who has created work for Giordano Dance, the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble in Detroit and the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company. Last year he created a commission for the Milwaukee Ballet entitled “Crossing Ashland.” The piece caught the attention of Ashley Wheater, the Joffrey’s artistic director, and now the company’s at work on Clawson’s choreography, which is as informed by modern and contemporary vocabularies as it is by ballet. “Crossing Ashland” is a tender look at human connection and vulnerability; it spans the space from earth to sky, considering both the ground that claims us and the heavens we reach for. Dancers in street clothes walk, run, embrace behind other dancers in minimal costumes, who create visual amplification of our internal worlds. Read the rest of this entry »
The young wife and husband team of Brenna Pierson-Tucker and Christopher Tucker bring their three-year-old company and their conceptual choreography to the new Links Hall. Four short pieces by the couple touch on topics as divergent as the lives of vaudevillian peep-show performers and string theory. “Chiaroscuro” takes inspiration from works by Chicago-based artist Lauren Wilk, but ultimately seeks to use light and dark as a metaphor for internal duality. “After the Nickel Runs Out” draws a parallel between primitive motion picture kinetoscopes and the objectification of performers, and “Em-Em-Dubs” toys around with the underlying ideas behind quantum mechanics and jazz. The intent of “Translate to 2” is more a pure exploration of movement, with the introduction of physical constraints and how those constraints resonate after they’re removed. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo: Daniel Guidara
Two haunting and beautiful Chicago-based companies share a bill in an unusual move for the Dance Center of Columbia College. The gorgeously fertile partnership that is Jonathan Meyer and Julia Rae Antonick’s Khecari present two pieces, one by each collaborator: Antonick’s piece for four women entitled “cresset: vibrant, rusting,” accompanied by a percussive and found-instrument score by Joseph St. Charles, and Meyer’s “Esther & the Omphali,” duet for two men that explores ideas of domestication and its compromises. Rachel Bunting’s dance theater project The Humans should create a complementary contrast to Khecari’s intensely somatic abstractions; Bunting uses costuming, props and deliberate, cryptic symbolism to create lovely, often spooky atmospheres riddled with dreamlike meaning. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo: Arn Klein
As the title suggests, Archipelago—organized by Lizzie Leopold of the Leopold Group—is a collection of solo pieces that are individually formed but conceptually linked, a greater unit comprised of discrete parts. The eight contemporary choreographers involved in the project—Leopold, Ronn Stewart of CoCoDaCo, Enid Smith of enidsmithdance, Mad Shak alums Jessie Marasa and Kristina Fluty, Joel Valentin-Martinez, frequent choreographer for Luna Negra Dance Theater, Cara Newman from Core Project Chicago and Matthew McMunn, dancer with Synapse Arts Collective and, most recently, Peter Carpenter Performance Project—are collaborating for the first time, along with musician Packy Lundholm (of I Fight Dragons) who creates the score. They will all meet together for the first time just four days before opening night, each with ten minutes of choreography that will be shaped into a cohesive collection over the course of the week. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo: Lois Greenfield
Some of my first memories of watching dance are of me developing my first crush on a very young Savion Glover—a regular on Sesame Street who taught Mr. Snuffleupagus to rap and tap or who lightly soft-shoed while Elmo mastered tying his shoelaces. Glover has been a legend since the age of ten, the protégé of Gregory Hines, Tony-winning star of “Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk” and probably the most famous tap dancer alive. Now, at the age of forty, Glover has an eponymous production company, dozens of high-profile choreographic credits (including both “Happy Feet”s) and a new evening-length show touring the country. Read the rest of this entry »