dance festivals

2018 ‘Spring to Dance’ chock full of pleasant surprises

By on May 29, 2018

ST. LOUIS, MO — I came to this year’s Spring to Dance festival figuring the best-case scenario would be to experience nothing out of the ordinary. Dance St. Louis, the local presenting organization which has produced Spring to Dance for 11 years, had already cut the Spring to Dance line-up from three days to two, drastically […]

The long game of elevating Chicago dance

By on November 17, 2017

CHICAGO — Elevate Chicago Dance came and went in October, and here I find myself near the end of November and still mulling over it. The one-time-only, three-day dance extravaganza known as Elevate Chicago Dance was organized by the Chicago Dancemakers Forum as a culminating festival signaling the end of the multi-year Regional Dance Development […]

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 […]

15th annual Flamenco Festival highlights its multi-cultural roots

By on February 28, 2017

CHICAGO — Through March 25, Instituto Cervantes’ Chicago Flamenco Festival showcases the breadth and depth of Flamenco. The five-week fest includes music and dance performances at a gaggle of venues around the city, with the kick-off event taking place last week at a chic west loop spot, City Winery. Opening night shined a lens on an […]

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 […]

‘Delve’ dabbles deftly (review)

By on June 27, 2016

CHICAGO — Producer/choreographer Rachel Katz packed us in tightly for the one-night-only Delve at Menomonee Club’s Drucker Center in Lincoln Park. The fourth of its kind, Katz’s mission is to present a variety of up-and-coming choreographers, and indeed, this bento box of dance contained small bites in a great many flavors with a wide spectrum […]

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 […]

Andee Scott in the edge of it, Photo by Kirk Donaldson

At the Harvest Fest, Less is More (review)

By on September 21, 2015

The 6th installment of the Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival (HCCDF) is trying a new format, with two programs rather than three, spread out over two weekends. The result is fewer artists, more tech time for each artist, and an overall heightened sophistication to one of the few remaining small-scale festivals. The evening opened with a bang […]

Chicago Dancing Festival Celebrates ‘Modern Women’

By on September 2, 2015

The Chicago Dancing Festival‘s annual engagement at the Museum for Contemporary Art has explored a variety of themes throughout its nine year history, most with a focus on maximizing the intimate and close-up setting provided by the wonderful Edlis Neeson theater. This year’s theme, “Modern Women” basically spanned the whole history of Modern Dance in a […]

First Ever Chicago Teen Dance Festival Tonight!

By on August 29, 2015

A conversation between Links Hall’s Roell Schmidt and Suzanne Connor of the Chicago Community Trust was the catalyst for the Chicago Teen Dance Festival, a new initiative mirroring the Chicago Jazz Lions Pavilion and kicking off tonight at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. The Jazz Lions brings together young jazz musicians to perform […]

Dance for Life 2015 is in the books

By on August 17, 2015

To quote Miley Cyrus, “It’s our party, we can do what we want…” …and at Dance for Life 2015, we sure did. I took a stab at playing multiple roles as reporter, photog., and party-goer. Taking pictures, mingling, and drinking wine all at the same time is complicated, particularly when the whole place is dripping […]

Dance Shelter: Raw, unfiltered, unreasonably long (review)

By on May 13, 2015

In Chicago Moving Company’s first performance since the death of Chicago dance guru and CMC founder Nana Shineflug, Dance Shelter maintained all her goodness and unbridled spirit. Nana was perhaps best known for trying anything and everything, something that has been passed down to the choreographers she mentored throughout her life. Nana’s influence is, perhaps, best […]

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 […]

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 […]

Summerdance Meets Science

By on September 11, 2014

I’ve been keeping my eye on Dr. David Marquez, who keeps his office across campus from me at UIC. Marquez is conducting some interesting research on the effects of Latin cultural dance programs for older adults. Our backgrounds and our work are as different as peanut butter and cats, but on this we agree: there is […]

The Chicago Dancing Festival closes in grandiose style

By on August 25, 2014

Hours before the grand finale to the Chicago Dancing Festival in Millennium Park, a storm rolled through so big it nearly washed away the Pritzker Pavilion in its entirety. Ain’t no rain gonna get dance fans down.   The massive storm didn’t deter Chicagoans from flocking to one of Chicago’s quintessential end-of-summer soirees (for dance, anyway). […]

Duets on the menu for Friday’s CDF

By on August 21, 2014

The Chicago Dancing Festival opened last night and I’m still buzzing from the excitement. Walking past a line of hopeful dance patrons in a standby line akin to what one might see at a Sting concert, I felt a wave of gratitude rush over me. Coming to CDF reminds me of how magical it is to […]

Kyle Abraham’s ‘Counterpoint’ set to premiere at Chicago Dancing Festival

By on August 16, 2014

It’s been a fruitful summer for dance in Chicago – and I’m not just talking about PRODUCE. Tonight, Dance for Life will see two world premiere performances choreographed by Randy Duncan and Harrison McEldowney & Jeremy Plummer, and next week continues the trend. The Chicago Dancing Festival is bringing three world premieres to the bountiful […]

JUBA! serves haute cuisine of tap dance on Chinet plates (review)

By on August 2, 2014

Wednesday’s curtain speech for JUBA! was a tag team of Peter Taub and Lane Alexander (of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) and Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP), respectfully) recognizing the importance of tap dance in Chicago, and the long-time collaborative effort of the two organizations to elevate tap to a more sophisticated realm. JUBA! is a […]

D49: growing dance on fertile grounds (Review)

By on July 26, 2014

Hamlin Park Fieldhouse: the home of Chicago Moving Company (CMC), a typical haunt for developing choreographers to show work, and a sometimes hot bed for discovering new and emerging talent in dance and performance. With Dance for $9.99 (D49), seasoned producer (and long-time right-hand woman to CMC Artistic Director Nana Shineflug) Kay LaSota joins the lot of […]

That’s (not just) Entertainment: Dance as a tool for cultural dialogue and social change

By on July 18, 2014

In 2013, Chicago-based Deeply Rooted Dance Theater (DRDT) became the first American dance company to appear in the 15th annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience in Durban, South Africa. JOMBA!’s founder Lliane Loots first connected with Deeply Rooted through the tireless work of Lorna Johnson, a DRDT board member and consultant on international exchange programs. Last year’s appearance, sponsored […]

Dance in the Parks returns! (preview)

By on July 7, 2014

The model for Dance in the Parks (DIP) is simple: dance, in the parks. Take a close look, however, and DIP quickly becomes a vital part of the dance community. For the sixth summer, DIP is bringing a fully-produced, high quality performance to Chicago Park District locations in all corners of the city. Artistic Director […]

Highlights to look for in 2014-15 (and tickets on the cheap)

By on June 10, 2014

Season announcements for the big venues have been trickling into my inbox, and this is actually the time to think about loading your dance calendar. Why? Tickets are cheap! Here are a few highlights you may want to consider for some #chidance next season: The Auditorium Theatre celebrates 125 years next season, and with this […]

Meet me in St. Louis: Love Letters from Chicago’s Artistic Directors to Spring to Dance

By on May 24, 2014

* Note: This post was created as a special feature in collaboration with SeeChicagoDance.com* ST. LOUIS, MO — Dance St. Louis has changed Memorial Day weekend. While most Americans stuff themselves silly with burgers, hot dogs, and beer, for thousands of St. Louisians this weekend is about world-class dance performances. The Spring to Dance Festival started […]

Chicago Dancing Festival founders receive Public Humanities Award

By on May 21, 2014

Every once in awhile, we are reminded that dance is about more than just dance. Each year since 1984, the Illinois Humanities Council has awarded the Public Humanities Award to acknowledge outstanding individuals or organizations who don’t need reminders that the arts and humanities can create positive changes to society. In 2014, Jay Franke and David Herro […]

Eat to the Beat is back, with a twist…

By on January 27, 2014

In an effort to attract new audience members, the Harris Theater for Music and Dance has been working to develop programs that draw from the thousands of working professionals in the loop. Premiering this Thursday is a spinoff of the successful lunchtime series Eat to the Beat. Artist-y types have really gotten behind the series that brings […]

Redmoon’s Massive Winter Pageant in its Massive New Space (preview)

By on December 10, 2013

Pilsen is strange. Turn down one block and it’s a hip, happening, vibrant neighborhood. Turn down another block and it’s deserted factory warehouses. Sort of. On two occasions my mind has been blown by such deserted blocks. The first: Visiting Mana Gallery for The Nexus Project last month. Then, on a different but equally creepy […]

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater Crosses the Ocean!

By on August 30, 2013

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater is the first American company to participate in JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience, an international festival in its 15th year in “Sister City” Durban, South Africa. During its 10-day residency, DRDT will present two performances, one a collaboration with Durban’s Flatfoot Dance Company, and participate in workshops and community-based outreach to rural […]

Chicago Dancing Festival in Review

By on August 28, 2013

Another chapter of the Chicago Dancing Festival closed, and while I’d love to say that I was spending all sorts of time trying to process it – well – I’d be a liar.  The day job hit me like a ton of bricks after my visit to the Auditorium Theatre last Thursday. You know, life […]

Big Discounts on Big Shows! See Dance for Life and Hubbard Street for Half Price

By on August 16, 2013

Dance for Life is a great tradition in Chicago Dance that I’ve never been to. I’m all for a good cause, but when even the nosebleeds are too expensive I take a pass and hope for a more abundant pocketbook next year. After all, is this sort of Gala performance really intended for dancers? Or […]

Dance in the Parks: the other free Chicago dancing festival… (Preview)

By on July 19, 2013

The idea is simple: good dance performed in Chicago park spaces, open to the public and totally free. The idea is simple, and brilliant. You might be thinking that the Chicago Dancing Festival conceived such a performance series, but Katie McCann had it first. McCann first dreamed up Dance in the Parks (DIP) after moving […]

Chicago Dancing Festival Tickets Released July 16, 17 and 18

By on July 9, 2013

The Chicago Dancing Festival is a REALLY good idea. Concerts are free, the venues are top notch, and so is the dancing. If you can get tickets. Each venue begins releasing its stash next week for the festival August 20-24 in a staggered format. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at noon is your chance to get […]

Hubbard Street 2’s Terence Marling and the Inside/Out Choreographic Workshop (Preview)

By on July 5, 2013

“You make the road as you go…”  Terence Marling The Inside/Out Choreographic Workshop is the annual chance for Hubbard Street’s dancers to strut their stuff as choreographers. Among a slew of other dancer-made concert series (The Seldoms’ Mix with Six and Thodos Dance Chicago’s New Dances are notable examples), Inside/Out uses four of its 52 contract weeks […]

Chicago Shows Up at Spring to Dance

By on May 25, 2013

Last night at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center did not suck. Though not solely responsible for the brilliant performances last night, Chicago certainly showed up and demonstrated its versatility and technical panache.  To spare readers an in-depth exposé of each piece in an evening that was (between two shows) three hours long, here […]

A Conversation with Michael Uthoff

By on May 24, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO — When Michael Uthoff first arrived in St. Louis, MO, he was asked what he thought of the local dance scene. “I think it’s shit,” he said. Born to dancing parents who founded the Chilean National Ballet, Uthoff danced for Jose Limon and eventually found his way toward classical ballet.  Having seen […]

Nominate Chicago’s Best Dance Teachers

By on April 5, 2013

With all the great performances going on during Chicago Dance Month, it’s hard not to notice the wealth of good dance and dancers available in our city. But where did we learn this stuff from?! For me, saddling up to the barre every once in awhile (though not as often as I should) is grounding […]

April is Chicago Dance Month!

By on April 2, 2013

In spite of an exciting month ahead, things might be a little quieter around here. I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be contributing to SeeChicagoDance.com to help cover the wealth of Chicago dance events happening in April. Why April?? Why not!  I mean, let’s face it: on any given weekend you could go see 2-8 different […]

Jazz Hands + Tamales = Winning

By on March 19, 2013

The Harris Theater for Music and Dance may be trying to reinvent itself in its Eat to the Beat, a series of casual, lunchtime performances featuring some of our best local talent.  I typically peg the Harris as a place where I have to dress up and pay too much for parking – ergo, I […]

A New Order in How Dances are Made

By on August 22, 2012

Kingsley Irons and Bryan Koch have turned the traditional dance festival on its head.   photo of Claudia Anata Hubiak by Summer Wilson   Inspired by our desperate needs to find fresh audience members and create exposure for dance artists nationally, Dances Made To Order's success, like anything else, is largely the result of sheer grit […]

Spring to Dance a strategy for butts in St. Louis dance seats

By on May 31, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO — On my final day in St. Louis I spent a sweaty afternoon downtown and cooled off with two excellent shows at the Spring to Dance festival.  Chicago definitely shined on this last day of three, with some of our heavy hitters appearing in both shows.  I’m ashamed to admit that this was my […]

Spring to Dance the place to be for Memorial Day in St. Louis

By on May 26, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO — Apparently the Touhill Performing Arts Center is the place to be on Memorial Day weekend in St. Louis.  I expected a pretty good line-up of mostly regional and a few national companies; what I didn’t expect is the droves of people that come out for this event.  Folks practically climb over […]

Springing to a New Realm in Dance Writing

By on May 16, 2012

  I admire dance critics, but I certainly don't envy them.  Weekends spent in a dark theater hunched over a notepad; people you barely know pretending to be your best friend; the fate of their social media lives resting in your hands.     I think back to episodes such as the disastrous review of NYCB's […]

Eat, Pray, PRODUCE

By on July 22, 2011

First of all, I'd like to publicly announce that that movie should have ended after the "eat" part in Italy… although I've been told the book is much better. Secondly, that piece of strawberry pie to my left is not from Italy. It's from the Hotel Santa Fe in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico. And it's the best […]

PRODUCE: Reality TV and Lauren’s Goals for the Series…

By on July 7, 2011

Produce.                             Or is it Produce?               Either way, it's happening tomorrow night, and for the following three Fridays in July. You've been hearing a lot from me about Produce. About what it is and why […]