At age 14, Sono Osato auditioned for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo onstage at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. She would become the youngest dancer to join the company, and the first of Japanese descent. Osato would go on to dance for American Ballet Theater and on Broadway, despite widespread anti-Japanese sentiment throughout the United States during World War II. On January 9, Osato, now age 96, will return to the place where her story began for “Sono’s Journey,” a world premiere by Thodos Dance Chicago.
Father Time will have to do the Quick Step to catch up with Chicago dance in 2016. Major venues promise calendars full of exciting dance to inspire, entertain, and stimulate. An overview of what’s coming in the next few months will help you plan ahead, but first take a look at what’s waiting right on the doorstep of the new year.
Growing up in Kansas, tapper Mark Yonally found his niche as a dancer by jamming with jazz musicians. His love for embodying live jazz music would become the foundation of Chicago Tap Theatre (CTT), a 13-year old tap company committed to original music and storytelling – a departure from traditional perceptions of tap dance. Where many tap companies view the form as a genre of music, opting for plain costumes and plotless soundscapes, Yonally is more interested in positioning tap as a choreographic form, using stagecraft and live music with tap dance to tell contemporary stories.
As the last days of summer pass by, we begin to acknowledge fall as a welcome inevitability. Tees and shorts seem to abruptly turn into jeans and jackets. School is back in session, the leaves start to turn, and dance season has officially begun.
Ringling Brothers may have live animals--minus the elephants--but they have nothing on “Carlucci’s Marvelous Exotic Extraordinary Big Top Universe of Renown,” otherwise known as Chicago Tap Theatre, for thrills and chills, and plenty of laughs.
By Lynn Colburn Shapiro
When native Chicagoan Vernard J. Gilmore first saw Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performing in his hometown, he said, “I need to be there!” Gilmore saw himself, and the world in which he lived, in the characters portrayed onstage, and he dreamed of one day becoming a member of the company. Today, as he anticipates returning to dance at the Auditorium Theatre in the company’s annual Chicago engagement, he has been living that dream for twenty years.
Summing up Dances from the Underground in a brief preview seems a daunting task; the triple bill featuring The Seldoms, Peter Carpenter Performance Project, and Kate Corby & Dancers will show works in varying stages of development over two weekends at Links Hall.