performance previews

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Adam Rose’s ‘Against Being’ is a Dance About Nothing

By on October 27, 2015

“Well, we haven’t talked about philosophy,” said Adam Rose, when asked, “Is there anything else?” toward the end of our interview about his latest work, Against Being. Rose premieres Against Being, what he calls a “dance about nothing,” at Links Hall culminating a year of research and movement investigation supported by a 2014 Lab Artist […]

Pursuit Productions tackles difficult dance theatre with ‘THEM’

By on July 6, 2015

Pursuit Productions is the collective effort of director Kacie Smith and dancer/choreographer Ahmad Simmons. As co-Artistic Directors, the two have produced a wide range of works in their few years of working together — some more clearly dance, some more clearly theater. One thing is for sure: these two are good for each other, elevating their respective […]

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 […]

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 […]

Bread & Butter culminates

By on November 20, 2014

Last fall, Cristina Tadeo and Nicholas Davio premiered a miniature dance and music installation at Comfort Station called Bread & Butter. Though short on length, space, and cast,  the result of a year long investigation into the ongoing discussion of artistic sustainability left a lasting impact on me. After a year of incubation, Tadeo and Davio return […]

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 […]

Christopher Preissing Looks to his Past in “The Four Attic Windows”

By on October 20, 2014

Shortly after his excellent collaboration with Kristina Isabelle in The Floating City last year, composer Christopher Preissing did not take any time to rest. Four antique maps inspired his suite for solo piano called The Four Attic Windows. Preissing was set to launch the new work and accompanying dance created by choreographer Enid Smith a few weeks later, when a serious […]

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 […]

RE|Dance celebrates five years with ‘The Long and Forgotten Winter’

By on July 27, 2014

If you’re friends with Lucy Riner on Facebook, then you’ve heard about this show. With Riner and co-Artistic Director Michael Estanich at the helm, RE|Dance is taking an “all-in” approach in preparing for its five-year anniversary next weekend at the Ruth Page Center for the Performing Arts.  With the help of a MetLife New Stages for […]

Thodos Celebrates 14 Years of New Dances

By on July 11, 2014

Meeting Thodos Dance Chicago (TDC) company member Diana Winfree in the art room at the Menomonee Club for Boys and Girls, she apologized about the noisy kids in the hallway as we settled down for a chat. “I’m pretty familiar with noisy kids,” I said. It’s hard to separate a studio visit to TDC from […]

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 […]

Wading in the Waters of the River See (p/review)

By on June 21, 2014

This weekend and next, there’s something kind of huge going on at Links Hall.  Four years of work and a collaboration between Links Hall, Living Arts of Tulsa, Diaspora Vibes Cultural Arts Incubator, The Theater Offensive and the National Performance Network all lead up to the Chicago premiere of Sharon Bridgforth’s River See. Not a dance […]

Cross-country collaboration culminates in ‘Birdlady’

By on May 28, 2014

Vivian Maier lived in Chicago most of her life, working as a nanny, with a serious photography hobby. She captured American life in the 1950’s and 60’s, but never shared her work. Maier’s photographs were stored, (many weren’t even developed), and eventually sold when she could no longer afford the rent on the storage unit where […]

Milwaukee Ballet’s Michael Pink: “If we get you through the doors, we can have a lasting impact”

By on May 16, 2014

MILWAUKEE, WI: “That is the the biggest challenge… this city lives under the shadow of Chicago so people make an assumption that it can’t possibly hold much value,” said Michael Pink, “but I can tell you that the arts are in abundance, and rival anything you can find in Chicago…there is not a dull moment […]

Scatterdance presents a smattering of dance (preview)

By on May 1, 2014

Nora Sharp isn’t a typical dancer. “I grew up playing classical music intensely,” she said in an interview on Easter morning. Sharp didn’t start dancing until she was nearing the end of her tenure at Oberlin College. Being relatively new to dance and relatively new to Chicago, Sharp felt gaps in the community in trying to […]

Two mainstay companies that might make this #chidance weekend fantastic

By on April 21, 2014

This weekend will give rise to landmark birthday celebrations for Inaside Chicago Dance and Mordine & Company Dance Theater. Inaside Chicago Dance commemorates 10 years with a mix of new and old works from its repertory this weekend at the Athenaeum Theatre. The bill includes choreography from a spectrum of Jazz Dance choreographers including Harrison McEldowney […]

Ginger Krebs’ Soft Parade works hard, plays hard (preview)

By on April 4, 2014

The day after Giordano Dance Chicago closed its spring season, I went to a studio showing of Ginger Krebs’ Soft Parade, premiering this weekend in the Katten/Landau Studio Theater on the fourth floor of Roosevelt University. Talk about polar opposite experiences. In the same way that jalapeño poppers and vichyssoise are both food, Soft Parade and Giordano […]

Cloud Gate approaches….

By on March 8, 2014

In what may be the most comprehensive marketing campaign I’ve ever seen, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan’s visit to Chicago next week might be the most highly anticipated event of the season. Three of our heavy hitters of the Chicago dance scene – The Joffrey Ballet, Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, and the Dance […]

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to Chicago

By on February 25, 2014

Twenty-five years after his death, the legacy and impact of Alvin Ailey on American contemporary dance cannot be disputed. His dances are ones that never get old; watching Revelations and Pas de Duke is like seeing a page out of the history book of dance. You would think we would be tired of them by […]

Joffrey tests its boundaries in ‘Contemporary Choreographers’ (preview)

By on January 28, 2014

“Choreography is where dance makes sense to me,” says Chicago-based choreographer Brock Clawson. Amidst the polar vortex, Clawson joined the Joffrey Ballet for a few weeks to set his work Crossing Ashland on the company. Clawson has become highly regarded as a distinguished choreographer in Chicago since retiring from performing for Thodos Dance Chicago less […]

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 […]

Tap star Savion Glover in a one-nighter at the Harris Theater (Preview)

By on January 20, 2014

As the premiere tapper of his generation, Tony-award winner Savion Glover brings his latest project STePz to Chicago in a one-night engagement at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance Jan. 24. Glover is one of few modern day tap dancers to break into the mainstream; with credits like Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk  and Happy […]

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 […]

DMTs Show Artistry and Collaboration in the Third Annual MOVED Concert (preview)

By on November 8, 2013

MOVED is a student run organization in the Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling (DMT & C) program at Columbia College Chicago. With a mission of advocacy for DMT through sponsored events and volunteering, MOVED promotes the integration of body and mind as a healing practice and provides exposure for the various therapeutic applications of dance. A day […]

Opposites Attract in Paige Caldarella’s ‘Off Center’

By on November 3, 2013

CHICAGO — Can different genres of dance co-exist in a performance space? The question isn’t new, but each attempt at an answer produces widely different results. In her final outing as a Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist, Paige Caldarella fashions a relationship between ballet and vogue, calling on her background as a Julliard trained dancer […]

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and Natya Back-to-Back at the Harris (preview)

By on October 28, 2013

On my visit to the studios of Ballet Chicago yesterday, looking out from the 19th floor over the ballet barres at our beautiful skyline, I kept thinking that this is what I imagined life as a professional dancer to look like. The rehearsal climate at Deeply Rooted Dance Theater (DRDT) is intensely focused and serious, […]

Bill T. Jones Returns to the Dance Center with “Story/Time” (preview)

By on October 20, 2013

70 stories in 70 minutes. Bill T. Jones’ 2012 dance score is strikingly reminiscent of the late Merce Cunningham. Jones attributes the inspiration of Story/Time to Cunningham’s musical counterpart John Cage, whose 1959 Indeterminacy consisted of Cage himself sitting onstage telling one-minute stories. The method is not new, but Story/Time is authentically Bill T. Jones, who […]

SPDW, Peter Carpenter, and Dances that Make you Go Hmm (preview)

By on October 10, 2013

It doesn’t appear to be a logical combination at first. One might even call them “The Odd Couple” of the October Chicago dance frenzy. But actually, it’s a match made in heaven. Same Planet Different World (SPDW), under the direction of Joanna Rosenthal, and Peter Carpenter Performance Project, under the direction of… well, you know… […]

“Vision, Faith & Desire” Honors the Past, Looks Toward the Future (preview)

By on September 18, 2013

When I hear the name Martha Graham, two thoughts immediately pop into my mind. My first exposure to modern dance was Graham Technique, and until my third year of college it was really my only exposure.  Hearing that name brings a flood of memories of the sore hip flexors and complete frustration and confusion with […]

A “Monument”al Weekend with The Seldoms (preview)

By on September 15, 2013

I’ve always admired The Seldoms, but for me the turning point happened when I Prancercized with them in a cold basement while waiting out a tornado in Edwardsville, IL. Ok, that’s kind of a long story, but prancing aside, The Seldoms were in Edwardsville to show an edited Exit Disclaimer: Science and Fiction Ahead as […]

Cristina Tadeo and Nicholas Davio’s “Bread & Butter”: A Complex Issue in Analog Form (preview)

By on August 14, 2013

Young choreographer and recent Columbia College grad Cristina Tadeo set out to make a duet this summer with no other objective than paying her dancers.  Ironically, as the work started to come together it became more and more about the thing she set out to do. I watched the fifteen minute piece last night – […]

RE|Dance Group, The Cultural Center, and What Dancing Looks Like Beneath the Surface of the Earth (Preview)

By on July 21, 2013

I was a little bummed to spend part of a steamy Saturday at the Cultural Center rather than on the beach, but my visit to RE|Dance Group’s rehearsal was well worth the time away from my tanning regime. My late morning arrival was greeted by dancers rehearsing awhile and then a full run-through of their […]

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 […]

Post:Ballet presents “Four Plays” at the Yerba Buena Center (Preview)

By on July 15, 2013

For their upcoming program this weekend in San Francisco, Artistic Director of Post:Ballet Robert Dekkers enlisted live musicians, visual artists, and award-winning architect Robert Gilson to create Four Plays.  The ambitious (and expensive) evening of all-Dekkers choreography features the premiere of field the present shifts. By its description, shifts sounds more like a Cunningham work than ballet… “by following a shared rule […]

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 Repertory Ballet Celebrates 100 years of ‘The Rite of Spring’ (Preview)

By on June 14, 2013

100 years ago The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du Printemps) opened in Paris, and caused quite the hubbub.  The age-old story of Pagan ritual sacrifice and the ushering in of the growing season as it was imagined by Igor Stravinsky and Vaslav Nijinsky was so controversial it nearly started a riot in the theatre.  After […]

Preview: Midwest Nexus Kicks Off with Synapse’s ‘Swath’

By on June 2, 2013

I’ve known Rachel Damon for about 10 years, and I feel like I know her work pretty well. A Damon dance is grounded, dark, and shrouded in abstraction. She blurs the lines between genders, genres, and disciplines in her work and creates through improvisation and visceral experiences.  Her costumes are grey, and red, and blue. Swath is […]

NEXT is Next for Mo. & Co.

By on May 14, 2013

  Emerging choreographer showcases have been trending for awhile now, and Mordine & Company Dance Theater‘s long running Choreographic Mentoring Program is quickly approaching as a part of NEXT, 2013 at Hamlin Park Fieldhouse. As one of Chicago’s Modern Dance matriarchs, Shirley Mordine has been creating work with her company of dancers for 44 years.  So it’s […]

Secret Experiments in Ballet

By on May 1, 2013

Emily Stein is not an emerging artist. With more than two decades invested in the Chicago Dance Community, Emily Stein is perhaps best known for her dual roles as Associate Artistic Director of Zephyr Dance and one of the best ballet teachers in the land. I was more than a little surprised to hear that she resigned […]

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 […]

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Spring Season Kick-off

By on March 8, 2013

  Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s spring season begins with a bang… … and his name is Alonzo King.   In a highly anticipated collaboration with Alonzo King LINES Ballet, the two companies share the stage for the first time.  Though we dancers love our collaborations, sharing a stage is not something that either company was particularly […]

Diablo Gives Ballet a Reboot

By on January 25, 2013

Ever since the Dance/USA conference I’ve seen Diablo Ballet all over the internet.  This relatively small-scale ballet company out of Walnut Creek, CA would likely be completely unfamiliar to me if not for its inspirational quotes on Twitter, dance history tidbits on Pinterest, and Audience prompts on Facebook.  In talking with Dan Meagher, Director of Marketing […]

Kate Corby Crosses The Border (Again)

By on December 7, 2012

“Most results come from dogged persistence” says the Madison-based Artistic Director of Kate Corby & Dancers to her students in the dance department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison – and this is a mantra she lives by.  A short three months after the company’s engagement at The Drucker Center, Passing premieres tonight at Links Hall.  The […]

Lizzie Leopold on how dancers are people. and so are audience members.

By on October 22, 2012

Ok, so, you might notice some changes around here… I'm in the middle of a massive re-build of the website!  Unfortunately, that means that we're is in a continual state of virtual chaos.  So exuse the "dust", if you will, while I talk briefly about a project that couldn't wait until the web changes are done…. […]

Unsolicited advice. To myself. And, a word about stillness in dance.

By on September 15, 2012

Calm down and sit still. But, keep busy, too.   I have a serious tendency to jam pack my life.  I actually feel like sometimes this helps my productivity – when I'm not as busy I tend to catch up on TV, lolligag, and generally accomplish less.   So what gives?   There's actually some […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]