DIY ‘Mess Hall’ Brings New Voices to the Fore (review)

By on May 4, 2016

  Heavy rain and the three steep flights of stairs up to Outerspace Studios couldn’t keep away the crowd as The Coincidentals’ Mess Hall convened for its second installment in two seasons. The series brings young artists, mostly friends and former Columbia College classmates of producers Jamie Corliss and Lydia Feuerhelm, together for what looks […]

RockCitizen: Peace, Love, and Civil Unrest

By on May 3, 2016

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 dance in […]

CTT: Time Travel with Tap (review)

By on April 14, 2016

CHICAGO — Each season, Chicago Tap Theatre (CTT) runs a fairly formulaic series of performances. There’s the holiday tap jam Tidings of Tap, a one-nighter at the Athenaeum, and a full-length narrative, usually staring the company’s Artistic Director and Business Manager, husband and wife team Mark Yonally and Jennifer Pfaff Yonally. While the content of […]

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 […]

Letter to the Editor: Harris Theater Announces Choreographer-in-Residence Brian Brooks

By on April 5, 2016

Note: The following is an anonymous response to a recent announcement by Chicago’s Harris Theater for Music and Dance granting $600,000 over the course of three years to choreographer Brian Brooks as the theater’s first ever choreographer in residence. It is published here with permission from the author.   Brian Brooks of the Brian Brooks […]

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 […]

Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble tackles tough topics (review)

By on March 16, 2016

Celebrating 15 years this season, Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble (CDE)’s latest project is an ambitious investigation into sexual assault and domestic violence. Titled Bindis & Bruises, the 45-minute work of dance theater focuses in on this sensitive topic mostly through the lens of Indian women, driven by the real experiences of creators Ellyzabeth Adler and Priya Narayan. Running […]

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 […]

TDC’s ‘Chicago Revealed’ has everything but the kitchen sink (review)

By on March 9, 2016

No one can fault Thodos Dance Chicago (TDC) for a lack of variety. Titled “Chicago Revealed,” the company’s spring series last weekend at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance featured four works from three choreographers, each offering his/her take on Chicago, past and present. The program was divided into two halves, with Thodos’ latest narrative […]

‘Yellow Towel’ breaks all the rules – or maybe writes new ones (review)

By on February 29, 2016

As the audience piled into Chicago’s Storefront Theater for Dana Michel’s one-night engagement, the ordinarily dark space was dressed in sterile white drops and white marley. But nothing – absolutely nothing – about Michel’s solo work Yellow Towel is as plain as the space in which it lives. Michel is dressed in a black hoodie […]

Winifred Haun & Dancers in "Your nearest exit may be behind you" by Winifred Haun. Photo credit: Matthew Gregory Hollis, lighting by Julie Ballard

A Mixed Bag at Winifred Haun’s ‘First Draft’ (review)

By on February 29, 2016

“You are really going to love this show,” said Winifred Haun onstage at the Ruth Page Center for the Performing Arts, “especially if you love chairs.” Indeed, chairs or some form thereof were coincidentally a part of all the dances on the program in First Draft, Haun’s two-day engagement featuring new-ish dances from five Chicago companies. […]

Art for Art’s Sake in Pink’s Dorian Gray? (review)

By on February 26, 2016

MILWAUKEE, WI: Oscar Wilde’s prerogative about art was that it served little purpose but to fill the world with beauty and pleasure, and he lived his life in pursuit of both. In one sense, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray is a chintzy romance flick that lives up to Wilde’s views, and yet his book […]

Urban Bush Women Celebrate Coltrane, Embody Jazz (review)

By on February 22, 2016

Jazz music and contemporary dance: misunderstood genres which often operate ahead of their time. It isn’t until years, or even decades later that audiences accept and begin to appreciate art forms that look and sound strange at first. Such was the case with John Coltrane (1926-1967), a legendary saxophonist and composer who quite literally changed jazz […]

Abundant Eye Candy in Joffrey’s ‘Bold Moves’ (review)

By on February 15, 2016

The contemporary works on Joffrey’s latest (through Feb. 21 at the Auditorium Theatre) have little in common, once again showing off the company’s versatility in a program that is bound to have something for everyone. There is something old (Jirí Kylián’s Forgotten Land), something new (world premiere Tipping Point by Ashley Page), something borrowed (Yuri Possokhov’s […]

KC: A Masterpiece in the Making

By on February 5, 2016

KANSAS CITY, MO: It’s so exciting to see a city ticking upward. Kansas City Ballet (KCB) is at a truly fascinating moment in its history – with Devon Carney at the helm beginning in 2013 and a totally amazing new building: the Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity. KCB is using its big, beautiful, brand spankin’ […]

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 […]

Kansas City Ballet Unveils a New Nutcracker (review)

By on December 22, 2015

KANSAS CITY, MO: As other mid-size cities’ downtown districts dwindle, Kansas City is growing at an unbelievable pace. Long known for its BBQ and jazz music, a series of projects and new facilities have been very good for several long-standing KC arts and cultural organizations. The trio of organizations forming the artistic hub of KC (Kansas […]

Milwaukee Ballet’s Unique Take on Nutcracker (review)

By on December 15, 2015

MILWAUKEE, WI: Since 2002, Michael Pink has remained at the helm of Milwaukee Ballet, the longest sitting Artistic Director in the company’s 45 year history. Pink’s impressive resume as a dancer rival those of the world’s most prestigious artistic directors, however, unlike many of his colleagues, Pink is also one of his company’s primary choreographers. […]

Some things old and something new for Esoteric’s 5th (review)

By on December 9, 2015

Esoteric Dance Project (EDP) was formed in 2010, and after five full seasons, co-directors Brenna Pierson-Tucker and Christopher Tucker took a walk down memory lane for REvisited/REnewed last weekend at the Preston Bradley Center in Uptown. Mason Hall, a gorgeous, rustic, out-of-the-way, up-four-flights-of-stairs,vastly underutilized space shares a building with the People’s Church at the Preston Bradley Center. […]

Ruth Page Civic Ballet: 50 Years of Nutcracker (review)

By on December 8, 2015

Most Chicagoans familiar with dance know the names Robert Joffrey and Ruth Page, but before the Joffrey Ballet relocated to Chicago in 1995, Ruth Page was one of the only professional gigs in town for a ballet dancer. Despite her name being most closely associated today with superior pre-professional dance training, during her lifetime Ruth Page […]