world premieres

Review: Corey Smith’s “New Prairie School” examines the Midwest with humor, nonchalance

By on January 16, 2018

CHICAGO — The New Prairie School, an evening-length performance by composer, writer, and performer, Corey Smith, along with fellow performers and collaborators Ethan T. Parcell and Claire Saxe, debuted last weekend at Links Hall. As the title suggests, the work was partially inspired by research around Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School of architecture of […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

J. Lindsay Brown Goes for Broke in ‘Spectacle Spectacular’ (review)

By on August 21, 2015

  MCL Chicago is a year-old space in Lakeview, great for improv comedy. It’s an intimate setting with little cafe tables interspersed throughout the audience for a BYOB beverage-of-choice, but like every space, this one has a few down sides. J. Lindsay Brown’s fully improvised dance and song extravaganza with The Glitter Island Gang, Spectacle Spectacular, suffered a bit in […]

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 […]

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 […]