Bread & Butter culminates

photo credit: Katie Graves
photo credit: Katie Graves

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 to finish what they started. Everything about Bread & Butter now is bigger: the work has expanded from 15 to 45 minutes and from the tiny Comfort Station to the 2000 sq. ft. Tom Robinson art gallery. The cast has grown too: adding Mags Bouffard, Julie Boruff and Tadeo herself to the original duet between Isabelle Collazo and Maria Macsay. Davio’s sound design, mixed live on 25 analog tape recorders (up from 8 in the original), is a compelling compilation of recorded interviews with freelance artists from a variety of genres.

“I do what I can with what I have,” said Tadeo over a coffee with me on the north side.  From the beginning of the project, she has kept firm to her promise to pay everyone involved a fair wage, and to remove elements she can’t afford. Bread & Butter’s premiere, nestled into a tightly packed dance weekend featuring at least five other shows (that I’m aware of) speaks to its theme, and to Tadeo’s overarching mission to make a sustainable dance about sustainable dance.

“If art was made in a sustainable manner, there would be less of it.”

For a young dancemaker, the ability to show such restraint may be what keeps her in the game for the long term.

Bread & Butter premieres Nov. 21 (8:00 p.m. and Nov. 22 (3:00 & 8:00p.m.) at Tom Robinson Art Studio / Gallery (2416 W. North Ave). Tickets are $15 available at or $18 at the door

Author: Lauren Warnecke

Lauren Warnecke is a freelance dance critic, contributing to the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine. She is senior editor of See Chicago Dance. Lauren covers dance across the Midwest and writes regularly for Dance Magazine and Pointe with additional bylines in Milwaukee Magazine, St. Louis Magazine and Dance Teacher. Forthcoming publications include essays on ballet training in Chicago (University of Illinois Press) and Shirley Mordine (University of Akron Press). In 2020, Lauren published an opinion piece on the impact of COVID-19 on the arts in the South African journal Agenda. Lauren holds degrees in dance and kinesiology and has presented research on dance training practices at the National Dance Education Organization and the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science. She has co-facilitated critical dance writing intensives in Chicago and Durban, South Africa, and participated in writing residencies at the National Center for Choreography, Bates Dance Festival and JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience. Lauren teaches dance history and kinesiology for dancers, with part-time appointments at Loyola University Chicago and Illinois Wesleyan University.