Chicago premieres

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 […]

Music and musings are just ‘Some of a Thousand Words’

By on February 26, 2017

CHICAGO — A one-nighter last Saturday marked the second of NYC-based Brian Brooks’ Chicago engagements during his tenure as the inaugural choreographer in residence at the Harris Theater, and his second collaboration with retired New York City Ballet super star Wendy Whelan. Whelan and Brooks each had their own solos to diversify the night’s gaggle of […]

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 […]

JUBA! Surprises and Delights (review)

By on July 28, 2016

CHICAGO — Last weekend’s JUBA! puts a cap on the 26th annual Rhythm World: Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP)’s month-long tap festival including classes, workshops and performances. For more than half of its 26 years, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) has been the site of this culminating event, bringing some of the best and […]

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 […]

Urban Bush Women Celebrate Coltrane, Embody Jazz (review)

By on February 22, 2016

CHICAGO — 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 […]

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 […]

Jessica Lang Makes Magic at the Harris (review)

By on November 9, 2015

Shades of black and white were a recurrent theme on stage for Jessica Lang Dance’s one-night-only program at the Harris Theater last Friday. The audience, however, was all pastels, totally enamored  with Jessica Lang during a monumental weekend for Chicago dance that featured a coincidental line-up of influential women choreographers at venues across the city. Opening […]

TSMP Celebrates 10 years in Millennium Park

By on November 5, 2015

My sophomore year of college, I took an interdisciplinary seminar in ecology and economics.  We discussed how Midwestern prairie lands have changed over time, and the impact of economic development on our natural landscapes. We visited Prairie Crossing – a weird amalgamation of suburbia, farmland and natural prairie, mostly owned by Waste Management. As The Space/Movement […]

Joffrey’s ‘Sylvia’ breaks from tradition, just like it used to (Review)

By on October 18, 2015

Following a highly successful pre-season weekend last month featuring up-and-coming choreographers, the official opening night of the Joffrey Ballet’s 60th anniversary season threw many of ballet’s conventions out the window. Entering the theater, we were greeted by an open main curtain and three dancers already onstage. We wanted to clap for the orchestra conductor (Chicago […]

Esoteric Celebrates 5 Years with Juxtaposition (review)

By on June 10, 2015

A small but supportive audience fell on Links Hall’s white space for the opening night of Esoteric Dance Project’s Juxtaposition. EDP offered two works choreographed by husband/wife Artistic Directors Christopher Tucker and Brenna Pierson-Tucker. Tucker’s Orchestrated Homage in Five Movements and Pierson-Tucker’s Public Privacy were put together to illustrate disparate themes, and though many details are, indeed, quite […]

Innervation Dance Cooperative’s ‘Tuned In’ is a bit out of tune (review)

By on June 8, 2015

At the top of the show, Innervation Dance Cooperative (IDC) founder Michael Sherman bounced up on stage for his pre-show speech and joyfully said, “Enjoy yourself and have a good time!” Spirits were high despite a relatively small audience in the Pro Theater at Stage 773, and IDC managed to carry a full two hours […]

The “Carpenter COLEctive” is greater than the sum of its parts (review)

By on May 11, 2015

Margi Cole and Peter Carpenter have been courting for awhile (artistically, that is). Cole has joined Carpenter as a dancer for the last few installments of his serial dance called Rituals of Abundance for Lean Times, a project that began in 2010 at New Trier High School as a response to the economic state of […]

Review: ‘Neel’ is the stuff of dreams and nightmares

By on April 22, 2015

CHICAGO — The fascinating thing about dreams is how vivid they are when they’re happening, and how quickly they fade from memory. Almost as soon as you wake up, the details blur and the dream becomes a wash of feelings and experiences. Such was the case for Neel: Blutopias of Radical Dreaming,  Minneapolis-based Ananya Dance […]

Review: Loosen Up, LinkUP (or maybe don’t)…

By on March 30, 2015

CHICAGO — Walking into Studio A at Links Hall on Saturday night, the room seemed not quite ready. An orange A-frame ladder remained out near the upstage wall, extension cords strewn about, while a man and a woman in identical outfits played heads or tails with a somewhat awkward nonchalance. There’s a lot to look […]

An exclusive peek at RivNo’s world premiere “the frost that binds”

By on March 25, 2015

This Saturday, March 28 River North Dance Chicago (RNDC) will be presenting two world premiere performances as part of the closing performance of the company’s 25th anniversary season. On the bill is Adam Barruch’s “the frost that binds,” and if Barruch’s name sounds familiar, don’t be alarmed. RNDC has employed Barruch on two previous occasions: once for a world premiere called “I […]

‘Sweater Weather’ Defies the Stereotype (review)

By on February 28, 2015

With every class that graduates from the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago comes a gaggle of tiny new dance companies, followed by an equal number of Kickstarter campaigns, and enthusiastic audiences largely made up of… each other. But every once in awhile, one or two of the “little guys” sticks around more than a […]

Crash captures ‘all the feels’ for its DC debut (review)

By on February 22, 2015

Chicago Dance Crash (CDC) kicked off its 13th season with an ambitious rep program for the group’s debut performance at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago (DC) this weekend. This interdisciplinary group of dancerly misfits shouldn’t look good together, but somehow they accomplish a cohesion and polish that many other companies of their size […]

Dancers Tong and Hortin dish on HSDC’s Winter Series, Victor Quijada, and not the Nutcracker

By on December 2, 2014

An abundance of choreographic royalty appears onstage at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) this weekend and next as Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC)* presents its Winter Series featuring Princess Grace Awardees Kyle Abraham, Robyn Mineko Williams, and Victor Quijada. Abraham’s Counterpoint is on the program (after last summer’s premiere as a commission of the Chicago Dancing […]

Khecari’s ‘Oubliette’ will soon be gone, but not forgotten

By on November 23, 2014

The feeling one gets entering Khecari’s latest performance environment must be how Mary Lennox felt when she first encountered the soggy and dead secret garden on the moor. The plants surrounding the barn at Indian Boundary Park are wilted and decaying; there’s a mysterious beauty to the garden that glows under strings of twinkle lights hanging in […]

A New Lens for Dance: Pros and Cons of Live Streaming Performance

By on October 28, 2014

Dance for the camera is nothing new, but with idevices, YouTube, and the Internet literally everywhere, broadcasting dance to living room sofas is easier than ever. Chicago companies large and small are trying it out, in different iterations, and for slightly different reasons. The common goal, however, is to access and engage with new audience […]

Zephyr Dance pushes its limits, and ours, too (review)

By on September 28, 2014

Zephyr Dance is one of those companies that sometimes escapes my radar, particularly since the departure of Emily Stein a couple years ago. To be honest, I was slightly worried about what was going to happen to Zephyr and Artistic Director Michelle Kranicke when Stein split from the company couple years ago. To be really honest, […]

Soham Dance Project is born (review)

By on September 22, 2014

I spent my birthday this year with Soham Dance Space for a special Moving Dialogues during Chicago Dance Month (CDM). The theme of CDM 2014 was “Open doors, open spaces,” and the narrow studio‘s warm and welcoming feel was echoed by owner Anjal Chande’s calm and genuine presence. Chande is tiny in stature, but watching her dance, […]

BalletX opens the Dance Center’s 41st Season (review)

By on September 20, 2014

For the first time maybe ever, ballet fans were torn this weekend in deciding between the Joffrey’s season opener Stories in Motion and The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago. The Dance Center isn’t exactly a reputed venue for ballet, which makes the Chicago premiere of Philadelphia-based BalletX all the more exciting. Having previously seen […]