Previews

Dance weaves a thread through 2019 Chicago International Film Festival

By on October 25, 2019

CHICAGO—A triptych of films screened Thursday to Sunday, collectively marketed under the header In Focus: Dance, forms an anchor point of the 2019 Chicago International Film Festival, North America’s longest-running competitive film festival. The films—director Levan Akin’s And Then We Danced, Isadora’s Children, directed by Damien Manivel, and Cunningham, a documentary on Merce Cunningham directed […]

‘Open Spaces’ is about access and visibility to KC arts, but it’s also going to be awesome

By on August 23, 2018

KANSAS CITY, MO — Years in the making, Open Spaces: Kansas City’s Arts Experience launches on Saturday, kicking off more than two months of carefully coordinated visual and performing arts events all over the city. Open Spaces is a product of Mayor Sly James’ 2011 task force for the arts, which led to the development a city-wide […]

CDF 15th anniversary highlights include SHareOUT at the MCA, second Elevate

By on August 17, 2018

CHICAGO — Two upcoming weekends at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) highlight former Chicago Dancemakers Forum (CDF) Lab Artists in a mini-festival called SHareOUT. For 15 years, CDF has provided substantial grants to independent artists, supporting movement-based practice and the choreographic process in an array of genres. On Aug. 24-25, Fujima Yoshinojo (Rika Lin) […]

Dancing Empathy: New Trier’s ‘Dance Lab 2’ showcase explores human connection and understanding through choreographic exploration

By on June 6, 2018

WINNETKA, IL — These days, going to high school can be a complicated and tumultuous experience. Far beyond the age-old ups and downs of adolescence, the issues that occupy students today stretch the notion of growing pains in ways that can break down rather than build up the spirit and one’s faith in humanity. In […]

Belle dances with fairy tale friends in Milwaukee Ballet’s new story ballet: ‘Beauty and the Beast’

By on April 12, 2018

MILWAUKEE, WI — Milwaukee Ballet is a company that whole-heartedly embraces the story ballet genre. Its latest narrative creation, Beauty and the Beast, will premiere tonight at the Marcus Center and run through April 15. Like many previous productions, the ballet unites the work of Artistic Director Michael Pink and British composer Philip Feeney, who have […]

Kansas City FilmFest focuses lens on local artists

By on April 11, 2018

KANSAS CITY, MO — Kicking off Wednesday at Cinemark Palace on the Plaza in Kansas City, MO, the 22nd annual Kansas City FilmFest will feature more than 100 local, regional, national and international films through Sunday. I caught wind of this festival while in town for Kansas City Ballet’s 60th anniversary performances, and was delighted to […]

Making Visible: An interview with Okwui Okpokwasili

By on April 6, 2018

NEW YORK / CHICAGO — I saw Okwui Okpokwasili’s piece Poor People’s TV Room when it premiered at New York Lives Arts last spring and was struck by its richly layered and complex rendering of the lives of four black women. Weaving dance, song, text, video, and stage design, this work draws from African and American contexts […]

Film festival highlights multi-media dance artists committed to social justice issues

By on March 16, 2018

CHICAGO — Five days, 10 events, 24 guest artists. Chicago’s In/Motion International Dance Film Festival brings a distinct group of artists together March 21-25 for dance on film, and social justice and community engagement. Entering its fourth year, the In/Motion International Dance Film Festival fosters the curation and creation of multimedia dance performance that confronts […]

Madison Ballet to close season with “Rise,” artistic director W. Earle Smith’s final program with the company

By on March 15, 2018

MADISON, WI — Madison Ballet’s Rise will mark the end of the company’s season and the end of an era as artistic director W. Earle Smith concludes his 19-year career with the organization. The mixed-repertory program will be performed at the Overture Center’s Capitol Theater from March 30-31 and will feature a sampler of Smith’s […]

Northwestern’s ‘Danceworks’ presents 3 world premieres by 3 of Chicago’s strongest female choreographers

By on March 5, 2018

EVANSTON, IL — Northwestern University’s dance department has presented Danceworks, its annual showcase of contemporary choreography, since the 1980s. A few years ago when Joel Valentín-Martinez took over artistic directorship of the concert, he designed the Danceworks programming as a vehicle to create more choreographic opportunities for faculty whose primary interest was dancemaking, and to create […]

Contemporary, classical works and a holiday favorite to fill Madison Ballet’s season

By on September 5, 2017

MADISON, WI — Wisconsin’s Madison Ballet will usher in the 2017-2018 season with a variety of mixed-repertory performances and its annual production of The Nutcracker – a lineup of programming that follows in the vein of last season. Founded in 1981, the company has been under the artistic direction of W. Earle Smith since 1999. The […]

Beyond fairytale formula: Milwaukee Ballet presents Michael Pink’s ‘Mirror Mirror’

By on May 30, 2017

“Who’s the fairest of them all?” MILWAUKEE, WI — Jealousy, vanity, the quest for attractiveness – common enough. But what happens when these things become all consuming? That’s the slippery slope that Michael Pink’s Mirror Mirror explores in his reimagining of Snow White which Milwaukee Ballet will perform from June 1-4 at the Marcus Center. Premiered […]

OnEdge plays in the periphery

By on March 3, 2017

CHICAGO — Working as an arts presenter is a hard job, and though I don’t know for certain, I would imagine that working for the City of Chicago is also hard. As Director of Performing Arts for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Shoshona Currier is doing both: administering city-funded performance-based programming, and […]

Pulling dance from a hat: Milwaukee’s ‘Genesis’ project

By on February 14, 2017

MILWAUKEE, WI — Every other year, Milwaukee Ballet’s artistic director Michael Pink sifts through a pile of applications one-by-one to select three choreographers. Some are up-and-coming, some pretty established. Pink wants a clear idea and the potential for a great piece. The only other requirement: be affiliated with a professional company. Choreographers from all over […]

Deeply Rooted’s 20th season opener highlights yin and yang (preview)

By on December 1, 2016

CHICAGO – “Time goes by quickly,” said Kevin Iega Jeff reflecting his tenure as Artistic Director of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, “but we figure it out as we go along.” “Figuring it out” hasn’t been easy, but Jeff and co-founder Gary Abbott have remained hyper-focused and vigilant toward the company’s mission to diversify concert dance by […]

An audience-centered ‘choose your own adventure’ with Zephyr

By on October 19, 2016

CHICAGO — Nearly a year after the Amid Festival, a magical gathering of performing artists grappling with aging bodies, festival curator and Zephyr Dance artistic director Michelle Kranicke presents her latest project Oct. 20-23 at Defibrillator Gallery. Valise 13 originally rose from a curiosity about travel. In selecting the French word for suitcase as her title, Kranicke […]

Choreographer Alex Sanchez makes his Goodman debut in ‘Wonderful Town’

By on September 20, 2016

CHICAGO — One of Dance Magazine’s 2015 “25 to watch,” choreographer Alex Sanchez makes his Goodman Theatre debut with Leonard Bernstein’s Wonderful Town. The Chicago native trained at Ruth Page Center for the Arts and performed four seasons with Ballet Chicago in the late 80s and early 90s under artistic director Daniel Duell. His 40-week […]

dropshift dance looks to the feminine for ‘FloatBrilliance’

By on June 14, 2016

CHICAGO — FloatBrilliance, premiering this weekend at Links Hall, is the third installment of what Artistic Director Andrea Cerniglia calls the Imposter Series, a multi-year project consuming at least half of her company’s history. In dropshift dance’s six seasons, Cerniglia’s aesthetic has gently, steadily pulled away from her roots in Zephyr Dance, but her commitment […]

Synapse returns to roots in ‘Openwork’

By on June 5, 2016

CHICAGO — A decade ago, Rachel Damon sat in a tree knitting a long red scarf. Her fledgling company performed many works like these — site-specific installations using multiple mediums — as we saw Synapse Arts Collective performing in parks, crosswalks and atop fabricated clouds. Since that time, Damon assumed leadership of the once-collective of multi-disciplinary artists, and the […]

Robyn Mineko Williams goes UNDER(cover) at Links

By on May 25, 2016

CHICAGO — Robyn Mineko Williams, fast becoming one of the most recognizable names in Chicago dance, premieres a new episode of UNDER(cover) this weekend at Links Hall. On the heels of last fall’s Mariko’s Magical Mix, a fantastical collaboration with Manual Cinema set on Hubbard Street 2, the original UNDER(cover) began as an independent work last summer at […]

RockCitizen: Peace, Love, and Civil Unrest

By on May 3, 2016

CHICAGO — On its surface, The Seldoms’ latest RockCitizen (premiering Thursday, May 5 at the Storefront Theater) is an exploration and celebration of rock music and the counterculture that grew alongside or out of it. Indeed, rock ‘n’ roll informs and infuses the text, gestures, sound score, and onstage singing that play equal parts to […]

Trio of works integrate movement and technology at HCL

By on April 6, 2016

Writer/producer Cynthia Bond’s first go at curating a series of dances on her own shines a lens on the use of technology to complement, alter, or replace movement. Dubbed Body ±, the one-nighter at High Concept Labs on the fourth floor of Mana Contemporary’s massive warehouse space in Pilsen seems the perfect project for the alternative intimate […]

Timothy O’Donnell explores envy in ‘The Sixth Sin’

By on March 31, 2016

MILWAUKEE, WI – While taking a brief hiatus from dancing, Timothy O’Donnell visited Milwaukee Ballet to take class on a whim. Artistic Director Michael Pink invited him to join the company that day, and the city to our north is now O’Donnell’s full-time home. In addition to dancing for Milwaukee Ballet, O’Donnell is also its […]

The Dance COLEctive Celebrates 20 Years with ‘Revelry’

By on March 11, 2016

Margi Cole has long been known as a teacher, at the Dance Center of Columbia College and across the globe, bringing her “Margi-isms” and wacky metaphors to eager dance students. Thousands of “cornfused” students have “run around” in Cole’s classes, trying to figure out the Louie from the Richie. Humor and humility are Cole’s trademarks, cultivating […]

Choreographer Ashley Page Premieres Joffrey Work in ‘Bold Moves’

By on December 23, 2015

CHICAGO — After nearly three decades dancing and choreographing with the Royal Ballet in his native London, and another in Glasgow as the director of the Scottish Ballet, award-winning choreographer Ashley Page struck out on his own as a freelancer. After leaving the Scottish Ballet in 2012, Page now travels the globe creating contemporary ballets […]