reviews

Review: ‘As the Crow Flies’ looks to the Midwest for inspired improv

By on March 2, 2018

CHICAGO — What makes dance “midwestern”? I don’t know, really, other than the unapologetic determination of midwesterners to do it. Call me biased, but there’s great dance happening in the middle of the country, by artists who don’t feel a need to seek approval from the coasts or have a specific urge to locate themselves […]

Review: Lather.Rinse.Repeat | Fall.Climb.Release.

By on January 9, 2018

CHICAGO — The vibe was phenomenally good at Links Hall last weekend for Catalyst Movmnt’s first production, Lather.Rinse.Repeat | Fall. Climb. Release. The curatorial project spearheaded by recent Columbia College alums Aaliyah Christina and Keyierra Collins, promises (according to press materials) to promote “movement artists of color who desire to establish their voice on this […]

Review: ‘The Making’ exerts power over Pulaski Park

By on November 21, 2017

CHICAGO — Last Saturday marked the final performance of The Seldoms’ world premiere of The Making, an evening-length work for the company’s seven ensemble members, three visual artists and one live musician (plus all the other designers and administrative hands on deck). The evening unfolded at the remarkable Pulaski Park field house, which has been […]

Review: Carefully crafted, contained Salty Lark splits a bill with Philly’s Naked Stark

By on November 8, 2017

CHICAGO — This past weekend Madeleine Reber and her company Salty Lark Dance shared a split bill called 664 Miles with Philadelphia-based choreographer Katherine Kiefer Stark’s company The Naked Stark at Links Hall. Chicago-based Reber presented three works, all of which were steeped in a distinctive physicality based on her years of somatic study particularly with […]

Review: Anna Martine Whitehead’s S P R E A D at Links Hall

By on April 28, 2017

CHICAGO — Few dancers in Chicago have broken out as distinctly as Anna Martine Whitehead did in her LinkUP residency-ending performance at Links Hall March 3-5, alongside an opening performance by Chicago mainstay Mitsu Salmon. It was a fitting end to Links Hall’s long-running LinkUP program – a truly punctuated, unforgettable send-off. Fearlessly squaring against […]

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 […]

The Cambrians return with ‘Empress Archer’

By on February 18, 2017

CHICAGO — Beginning in 2013, Benjamin Wardell dreamed up a process called “The Nexus Project.” He recruited dancers Michel Rodriguez Cintra and worked with a gaggle of choreographers, who developed duets for them, only to have those duets deconstructed and put back together again in a semi-improvised, never-the-same-way-twice series of intimate performances. It worked. The two […]

Aerial Dance Chicago gets Spooky

By on November 8, 2016

CHICAGO – Aerial Dance Chicago (ADC)’s loft space off the Irving Park blue line provided an intimate and appropriate setting for Ghost Stories, the company’s fall concert held Halloween weekend and dedicated to all things spooky. Each dance alluded to the battle between good and evil, light and dark, heaven and earth (and perhaps what lies beneath […]

Nora Sharp and Haydee Souffrant: seeking syncronicity

By on September 23, 2016

CHICAGO — Links Hall’s white space was packed to the gills Sept. 18 for the last of three performances of “Belonging,” as is usually the case in choreographers’ first attempts at a concert. The split bill shared by Nora Sharp and Haydée Souffrant was as full as the audience, with well over an hour of […]

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 […]

Triplicate is hot and humid (review)

By on June 22, 2016

CHICAGO — With each passing year, the gaggles of new Dance Center of Columbia College grads brings the inevitability of at least one coming out concert at DIY venues across the city. The class of 2016 shows promise as it enters the real world, teeming with talent, if not confidence. Triplicate featured three such young grads, who […]

Rewards > Risk at CMC’s Dance Shelter (review)

By on May 14, 2016

CHICAGO — For the past few seasons, Chicago Moving Company (CMC)’s Kay LaSota has produced a two-show package for the group’s home space at Hamlin Park. The first, D49, is a mid-summer fest featuring up and coming artists curated by CMC’s long time artists in residence: Rachel Bunting, Ayako Kato, and Atalee Judy. The audience’s […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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’

By on February 29, 2016

CHICAGO — “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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Lucky Plush Breaks Into the Harris (review)

By on November 22, 2015

My first thought upon walking into the house of the Lucky Plush Productions’ Mix at Six and seeing a bunch of strangers was: “Why isn’t every single dancer I know at this show?!?” Then I realized that the inexpensive happy hour performance series isn’t designed for dancers on a budget. Formally branded as Eat and Drink to the […]

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 […]

Nomi: the little company that could (review-ish)

By on November 3, 2015

In the days following the death of Paul Christiano, many of the photos and sentiments circulated on social media were from Laura Kariotis. As Artistic Director of Nomi Dance, Kariotis worked closely with Christiano for seven years, and the concept for Nomi’s one-night-only fall engagement at the Athenaeum Theatre on Oct. 24 was originally his idea. […]

The Cronus Land Seduces the Senses (review)

By on October 20, 2015

Are dances made for artists or audiences? Yes. There is a delicate balance between art for art’s sake and pure entertainment. On the one hand, we need audiences in order to fund and validate dance. On the other, pandering to the public does nothing to advance and evolve the artform. Khecari, lead by Jonathan Meyer […]

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 […]

Frank Chaves’ Swan Song

By on October 5, 2015

Even on the heels of a highly successful 25th anniversary season, the announcement of Frank Chaves’ retirement as Artistic Director of River North Dance Chicago (RNDC) was not wholly unexpected. Over much of the last decade Chaves has managed to lead and maintain the company despite facing some serious personal challenges. A degenerative spinal cord condition […]

Gu Jiani’s ‘Right & Left’ Challenges Assumptions (review)

By on September 28, 2015

Joseph Lam, Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (CI), climbed a short set of stairs from the house of the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater up to the edge of the stage and immediately noted that he’d been given specific directions: Don’t touch the floor. Indeed, it was a pristine white […]

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 […]

Dance Merges with Mingus in Millennium Park (review)

By on August 18, 2015

The inevitable end of summer has given us some perfect evenings for a picnic and a show in downtown Chicago. Indeed, the lawn at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park was packed last Thursday for a unique collaboration made possible by the two heads of state of a venue previously known as the Viaduct Theatre. Links Hall’s Roell Schmidt […]

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 Salts’ really know how to party (review)

By on May 24, 2015

The Salts is the latest show put on by The Inconvenience, marking the first time that the ultra-hip multi-disciplinary performance collective has dedicated a full evening to dance. The work is devised by Erin Kilmurray, created in collaboration with actress/singer/clown Molly Brennan. The Salts is hidden in the Flat Iron Arts Building in a hard-to-find space on […]

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 […]

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 […]

Montom Mixes and Mingles at Mana (review)

By on March 28, 2015

Visiting Mana Contemporary at its relatively new Chicago location nestled in a weird, barren block of Pilsen is becoming a more frequent occasion, and it seems likely that Mana will soon be on EVERYONE’S radar. It’s not too far and there is more parking than imaginable, plus, Mana has a hip vibe that can only be felt […]

‘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 […]

Nexus Redux (review)

By on January 11, 2015

Does Chicago need another new dance company? No. Does Chicago need another new dance studio? Probably not. And yet, it felt so exciting walking into the raw, cold footprint of the north side garage that will eventually become Dovetail Studios… walking in for the kick off a new name in town: The Cambrians. New, but not […]

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 […]

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 […]

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). […]

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 […]

The Musicophilia of Chicago Tap Theatre (review)

By on July 3, 2014

CHICAGO — It seems a natural partnership – live music and tap dancing – and yet Chicago Tap Theatre (CTT) seems to have settled in a niche that no other dance company in Chicago has. I had my suspicions, but didn’t really know until last weekend’s annual Unleash the Beats at the Athenaeum Theatre that […]

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 […]

Striding Lion examines the American Dream (review)

By on April 20, 2014

  Striding Lion Performance Group’s latest endeavor, American Me, is an immersive look at the sometimes hilarious, sometimes profound, sometimes disturbing state of self-reliance and the American Dream. It’s a wide-reaching, epic journey that spans decades and genres, blending 1950’s diner tunes with 1980’s rock ballads, and weird emo modern dance with pas de chats with satirical […]

Pilobolus graces a fresh new MAC stage (review)

By on April 19, 2014

It’s not a particularly desirable commute from the city, and public transit doesn’t really go there, but maybe that’s the point. The newly renovated McAninch Arts Center (MAC) is located at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, and boasts a pretty beefy line-up of artists for its 2014 season. Ok, renovation is an understatement. The […]

Visceral Dance Chicago joins the lot for #chidancemonth (review)

By on April 14, 2014

In a month that is veritably packed with dance, on a weekend that was equitably packed with dance, Visceral Dance Chicago (VDC) offered up a two-day program at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. This would be VDC’s first attempt at a full-length evening; the fledgling company presented a mini-show last fall debuting work […]

River North’s spring one night stand at the Auditorium Theatre (review)

By on April 13, 2014

Seeing River North Dance Chicago (RNDC) at the Auditorium Theatre felt a little bizarre. Like a buffalo in the Amazon, the ornately dressed Auditorium isn’t RNDC’s natural habitat. Nonetheless, a jubilant and considerably large crowd gathered for a one-night-only effort from a company known for its fierce technique, athleticism, and tight ensemble dancing. By those standards, […]

Giordano Dance Chicago ignites the Harris Theater (Review)

By on April 2, 2014

Ok, maybe it’s too soon for a pun about fire at the Harris, but in the last moments of the electrifying Sabroso I swear I saw smoke coming from the heels of Giordano Dance Chicago (GDC)’s dancers. In an eclectic Spring program,  older works appeared with the anticipated world premier of Autumn Eckman’s Mist. Mist […]

Hubbard + Jiří Kylián = Love (not a review)

By on March 14, 2014

The San Francisco Chronicle once named Jiří Kylián “one of the greatest choreographers of our age.” Boy, those reporters sure are smart. You know that saying that anything you could possibly do as an artist has already been done? I’m pretty sure that was Jiří Kylián, 20 years ago, doing it, and better than you. So […]

dropshift dance aims to immerse and interact, and wins (review)

By on March 2, 2014

Upon first glance, one might consider Andrea Cerniglia’s four woman troupe dropshift dance (intentionally uncapitalized) to be a spin off of Zephyr Dance. Cerniglia is a long time dancer/collaborator with Zephyr, and the influences of Michelle Kranicke (and formerly Emily Stein too) are undeniable. Yet there is something very different about this four woman company that […]

Review: Esoteric Dance Project’s Shift/ed at Links Hall

By on February 8, 2014

CHICAGO — Husband and wife team Christopher Tucker and Brenna Pierson-Tucker created Esoteric Dance Project in 2010, and with a group of strong dancers in tow present four premieres this weekend at Links Hall. Tucker and Pierson-Tucker are strongly influenced by ballet technique, and add a contemporary dance flavor to their aesthetic. There doesn’t really […]

An Encore of One Thousand Pieces (review)

By on December 14, 2013

CHICAGO — If you haven’t already seen Alejandro Cerrudo’s One Thousand Pieces, now is the time to do it. If you’ve already seen Alejandro Cerrudo’s One Thousand Pieces, go see it again. Cerrudo’s evening-legnth effort for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago was a first for both parties, and served as the highly-anticipated season opener for the […]

Visceral Dance Company is Born (review)

By on November 23, 2013

Thursday night saw the debut performance of Visceral Dance Chicago at the surprisingly half full Harris Theater for Music and Dance. In an short performance of three world premieres and a video montage highlighting each company member, it’s clear that Visceral Dance Chicago is here, and wants to play with the big kids. I mean, […]

Three Premieres in River North’s ‘Autumn Passions’ (review)

By on November 15, 2013

After an exhausting year that included a pilgrimage to Cuba and two brand new works, River North Dance Chicago’s Artistic Director Frank Chaves decided to take a back seat creatively in the company’s 24th season. For the 2013 Fall Engagement, RNDC recruited three new works from choreographers Ashley Roland, Adam Barruch, and Kevin Iega Jeff. All three […]

COLEctive Notions Plays with Memory, Femininity, and Nostalgia (review)

By on November 4, 2013

The Drucker Center can be a challenging space (speaking from much personal experience), but the interplay between a “casual Sunday night get-together” and the refined manner in which Margi Cole puts up a show deemed it a fitting venue for The Dance COLEctive’s mentor project COLEctive Notions. Three world premieres from Dance COLEctive company members Olivia […]

Giordano Promises Passion, Energy, Unbridled Enthusiasm – and Delivers

By on October 27, 2013

If he was still here today, Gus Giordano would have been exceedingly proud of his company’s 51st season opener. In a one-night-only repertory offering of full company pieces titled Escape Ordinary: 51st Extraordinary Season, Giordano Dance Chicago gave us exactly what I expected: all-out, balls to the walls, technically stunning dancing that brought the audience […]

filthy/mockingbird Plays with Meaning, Interpretation, and a Pile of Clothing (review)

By on October 19, 2013

“When the viewer doesn’t “get it”, we treat the subjectivity of art as an imperfection in communication that we must accept… In life we make our own meaning. We take the chaotic interconnectedness and construct a narrative for ourselves. This work will reflect the non-linear multiplicity life, on which meaning can be created by each person.” This is Mikey […]

‘La Bayadère:’ the greatest ballet you’ve never seen

By on October 17, 2013

CHICAGO — La Bayadère premiered in St. Petersburg in 1877, and is lumped together in that one question about naming all the classical ballets on every college dance history exam.  Bayadère was a pioneer in the ballet world at that time — one of the first of many to include a “white act” — but […]

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Fall Series Has Something for Everyone (review)

By on October 11, 2013

The season opener for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago included everything but the kitchen sink (although the stove was there…). The Harris Theater for Music and Dance is generally a fantastic venue to watch Hubbard Street perform, but I had a hard time connecting to Robyn Mineko Williams’s Fluence in such a vast place – even […]

Lucky Plush Productions’ Fall Double Feature at Links Hall (review)

By on October 5, 2013

Cinderbox 2.0 is just as good the second time around… The newish Links Hall is still a work in progress. The old Viaduct seats are lumpy, the floor is a tap floor that transforms dainty landings into inelegant galumphing, and the coup de grace: a bathroom stall that’s been broken since the first week they […]

Another Op’nin Another Show: Susan Marshall’s “Play/Pause” at the Dance Center (review)

By on September 21, 2013

The Dance Center of Columbia College’s 40th season opened last night with the world premiere of Susan Marshall’s Play/Pause. It was kind of a big deal, for a few reasons: 1) The Dance Center turns 40 this year.  I wonder if, when founder Shirley Mordine started all this, she ever could have imagined how successful a […]

The Fall Dance Season Commences with Joffrey’s “Russian Masters” (review)

By on September 20, 2013

I suspect the public’s reaction to the premiere of Le Sacre du Printemps in Paris was probably similar to our reaction to Miley Cyrus twerking on the VMA’s. Private dismay, followed by public outcry on Facebook. Ok, so maybe the 1913 crowd didn’t have Facebook, but the audience was so shocked by what they saw […]

Chicago Sinfonietta’s ’13-14 Season Opener (review)

By on September 16, 2013

Can classical music and hip hop dance truly be friends? I don’t know… …but the Chicago Sinfonietta had the guts to try it in its opening performance for the 2013-14 season at Symphony Center Saturday night. The first half of the evening was a fascinating salad of Swan Lake, Hip Hop Dance, symphonic Americana, and […]

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 […]

Shaping Sound at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance (Review)

By on May 29, 2013

To borrow a question from Kyle MacMillan in yesterday’s Sun Times: Can the mass appeal of television dance shows transfer to the stage? Sure it can. Shaping Sound showed up at the Harris Theater and proved it. “A new contemporary dance company” with TV dance super stars Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance, and Kyle Robinson at the helm, Shaping […]

Watching Brief: Cookies, Clouds, and Crowd Psychology (Review)

By on May 21, 2013

Having recently moved in from the Cleveland area, MegLouise Dance closed  their newest performance Watching Brief last Sunday at Links Hall.  Little did I know when I showed up at Constellation that I was entering a sociological experiment. The element of play is obvious from the very beginning.  You’re presented with a coloring sheet, rather […]

Joffrey’s Othello: A ballet that ends just as it’s starting to get interesting

By on May 3, 2013

So I went to the ballet with a boxer… It sounds like the set-up for a bad joke, but it’s true.  My colleague Dr. John Coumbe-Lilley  is a former boxer, Sports Psychologist, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach – and he happens to have recently developed an interest in learning about dance. It was his […]

Rockford Dance Company: Thoughtful, Talented Dancers Who Are Really Far Away

By on April 14, 2013

Once a thriving small city in the middle of all that corn, Rockford, IL has been hit hard with an economic downturn that has been infamously compared to Detroit and Flint, MI. Add to this a total lack of public transportation from the Chicago metro area, and Rockford is a place that most Chicagoans only […]

(Review) Hubbard Street 2 at Wheaton College

By on February 13, 2013

Dancing to live classical music isn’t exactly a novel idea, but somehow the combination of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s second company and the Wheaton College Orchestra last Saturday evening felt like uncharted waters.  After a Korsakovian intro from the orchestra, conductor Daniel Sommerville gave a brief speech applauding the diligence, dedication, and hard work demanded […]

Deirdre Kelly Gives the Dirt on Ballerinas

By on January 13, 2013

Last weekend I saw Les Miserables in the movie theater, and it was ironically appropriate given the book I was reading at the time: Ballerina by Deirdre Kelly.  Les Mis theatrically reveals the squalor that was the French Revolution, a period in which ballet was undergoing a great deal of development.  Going to the ballet, at that […]

Review: There is no “I” in The Dance Team

By on November 4, 2012

I've never heard a pre-show announcement that ended with: "OK, so does anyone have any questions?" But I think that's just how Chris Knowlton (Artistic Director of The Dance Team) rolls. Every aspect of The Past is Prologue, showing this weekend at Links Hall, is indicative of the collaborative spirit embraced by The Dance Team. […]

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 […]