Before moving to Salt Lake City to take the helm of Ballet West, Adam Sklute spent twenty-three years with the Joffrey Ballet, as dancer, Ballet Master, and Associate Artistic Director. Sklute returns to Chicago this weekend, bringing Ballet West for three nights at the Auditorium Theatre. The company performs Sklute’s take on “The Sleeping Beauty” Friday and Saturday, and a program of contemporary mixed rep Sunday.
What attracted you to the story of Sleeping Beauty?
I’ve been long fascinated with the classics. When I came to Ballet West, one of the things I loved best was our history with the classics. I’m in fact doing “Sleeping Beauty”this year as a tribute to our fiftieth anniversary, as we’ve had “The Sleeping Beauty” in a number of incarnations over our company’s history. I personally liked this work because, to me, it’s about the music and I think of this as Tchaikovsky’s greatest score for ballet. I was excited to produce my own take on it—which is truly a classical version; it’s very much based on the Marius Petipa original. I put my own spin on it, edit it down, make it more palatable for twentieth-century audiences. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo: Herbert Migdoll
The Joffrey calls upon all their considerable resources to stage massive, demanding works by three Russian greats. The centerpiece of the evening is the company’s authoritative reconstruction of Nijinsky’s legendary, riot-inducing “Le Sacre du Printemps,” which still feels absolutely raw and primal even 100 years after its premiere. The rest of the program holds strong with Balanchine’s “Allegro Brillante”—a sweeping full-company piece featuring bearishly difficult solo sections for the principal ballerina—and two works by Yuri Possokhov. “Bells” is a gorgeous half-hour work set to seven Rachmaninoff compositions that move sweetly through moods and images, and a real treat will be Possokhov’s duet “Adagio,” created expressly for the Joffrey’s remarkable husband and wife team Temur Suluashvili and Victoria Jaiani. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo courtesy Lois Greenfield
The free, weeklong festival that has made Chicago a national dance destination even in the off-season now “sells out” its three indoor events in minutes. But don’t worry; tickets can still be had for the shows at the Harris, the Auditorium Theatre and the MCA on standby. I recommend getting there early. What’s in the lineup this year? Hit pieces from favorite Chicago companies—Hubbard Street, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Giordano, the Joffrey and the addition of Natya and Ensemble Español—and guest companies from around the country, including Alvin Ailey, Brian Brooks, The Washington Ballet, founder Lar Lubovitch’s San Francisco-based company, plus about a half dozen more. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo courtesy Nikolay Krusser
Boris Eifman is the writer’s choreographer; his muse is the figure of the artist, the genius, the madman. His theatrical ballets have emerged from the real and imagined psyches of Don Quixote, Hamlet, Anna Karenina, the Karamazovs, Tchaikovsky and, most recently, Auguste Rodin and his tumultuous relationship with his colleague, muse and lover Camille Claudel. Eifman’s “Rodin” opens with Claudel in the asylum (where she spent out the last thirty years of her life), then travels back in time through Rodin’s memory—meeting his young student turned lover, co-author of his works, subject and object of creative jealousy. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the most diverse dance programs this year will take place in the Loop, on the stage of the Auditorium Theatre. The Movement + Music Showcase is a collection of all new pieces by six Chicago companies and their musical collaborators for one night, one performance only. The six companies—representing a spectrum of styles and traditions—were selected from workshops held at the Auditorium’s Katten/Landau studio; some of the names may be familiar, some perhaps less so: Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Kuumba Lynx, Mexican Dance Ensemble, DanceWorks Chicago and Thodos Dance Chicago. Giordano Dance Chicago also gets a special invite. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo courtesy Herbert Migdoll
The Joffrey reprises Lar Lubovitch’s evening-length interpretation of the famous tale—a theme of Chicago stages this year; the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Lyric Opera are also staging productions of the tragedy of the Moor. The Joffrey first performed Lubovitch’s high-drama story ballet in 2009 and many of the same dancers can be seen in title roles many nights: willowy, girlish April Daly as Desdemona, Matthew Adamczyk a perfectly arch and seething Iago, and towering Fabrice Calmels the quintessential Othello, a great warrior carved from stone. Read the rest of this entry »
Detroit’s leading contemporary dance company visits the Auditorium Theatre for the first time, representing D-town through the music that made the city famous. “Motown in Motion” is a dance tribute album of sorts—a collection of pieces set to iconic Motown Records recordings and choreographed by leading names like Gregory Patterson, Ginger Thatcher, Joel Hall and, of course, the ensemble’s founder Laurie Eisenhower. The program also includes favorite selections of repertory, two by Chicago-based choreographers Ron de Jesus and Michael Foley. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo courtesy Cheryl Mann
Frank Chaves was born in Cuba, but left as a very young child, well before he could form distinct memories of his birthplace. When Chaves, founder and artistic director of River North Dance Company, returned to Havana accompanied by the founder of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, a new project was born. “Havana Blue” is the product of a two-year collaboration between Chaves and Orbert Davis—a seven-part love letter to the city set to original Afro-Cuban music by Davis and performed live by the Philharmonic. The partnership is a real treat; Chaves’ theatrical, vivacious choreography should pair beautifully with the verve and spontaneity of live jazz. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo: Andrew Eccles
The world-renowned Ailey company will stop in Chicago for a rigorous week-and-a-half of performances, allotting them time to showcase old and new, American and European, contemporary and modern, narrative and abstract, jazz, classical, gospel, pop and hip-hop. The programs slated for Ailey’s ten-day run are an ambitious collection of eight stylistically diverse pieces spanning decades and continents. Highlights? Hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris’ gospel-house scored “Home,” inspired by people living with HIV; the first performance of “The Lion King” choreographer Garth Fagan’s “From Before” by a company besides his own; and the first time the Ailey dancers perform “Petite Mort” by Jiri Kylian, the influential director of Nederlands Dans Theatre. Read the rest of this entry »
Though we publish a list of “players” every year, we alternate between those whose accomplishments are most visible on-stage (the artists, last year) and those who wield their influence behind the curtain (this year). Not only does this allow us to consider twice as many people, but it also puts some temporal distance between the lists. So, the last time we visited this cast of characters, two years ago, we were celebrating the end of the Richard M. Daley years in Chicago, fretting over a nation seemingly in the mood for a Tea Party and contemplating the possibility of a Latter Day Saint in the White House. Today, we’ve got a dancer in the mayor’s office, the most prominent Mormons are in a chorus line at the Bank of America Theatre and the Tea Cup runneth dry. Call us cockeyed optimists, but things sure look better from here. And so, meet the folks who, today, bring us the best theater, dance, comedy and opera in the nation.
Written by Zach Freeman, Brian Hieggelke, Sharon Hoyer and Johnny Oleksinski
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