September Newsletter: Story Time

Stories are making a comeback on the dance scene, or reinventing themselves as post-post-modernism, take your pick.  Throughout September and October, Chicago dance lovers have an absolutely tantalizing array of dance styles and companies to choose from, with a rip-roaring line-up that ranges from conventional story ballets to innovative collaborations, abstract dance tone-poems to jazz rhythms and tap dance narratives. Here are a just few of the many wonderful stories in dance coming our way this fall:    

Chicago Dance Crash transcends time and realities in ‘Tron: End of Line’

Walking into the Mayne Stage late night for a KTF (Keeper of the Floor) dance battle between company members and friends of Chicago Dance Crash (CDC), a number of realizations come to mind: 1) KTF is not a typical dance show, 2) Chicago Dance Crash is not a typical dance company, and 3) it’s possible to make people go crazy for dance. Host, judge, moderator, and lubricator Mattrick Swayze (with his darling Swayzettes) are a large part of what make the quarterly hootenanny work.

Fairy tales and les grands ballets get an update in ‘Blanche Neige’

Fairy tales are much more than stories for children, says Angelin Preljocaj, Artistic Director of Ballet Preljocaj, in a brief phone conversation with SeeChicagoDance. Preljocaj brings his Blanche Neige (Snow White) to the Harris Theater for Music and Dance May 2-4. The work is a modern take on the traditional grand story ballet after the classic Brothers Grimm tale of the beautiful girl with ebony skin and dark black hair.

River North on the Landmark Stage

Saturday, I go out to play croons Eva Cassidy’s smoky voice in the intimate Katten-Landau studio at Roosevelt University. Dancers Jessica Wolfrum and Ahmad Simmons tangle in an intense, physical, emotive duet – an excerpt from River North Dance Chicago artistic director Frank Chaves’ 2013 ode to the singer. At the end of the second run, Wolfrum literally leans on two lucky audience members, spent. Her character “has issues,” Chaves quips.

Edward Gorey Meets Shostakovich in Trey McIntyre Project

For someone who had no stomach for “happy nonsense,” only the darkly-twisted variety , Edward Gorey couldn’t have a better name. The Trey McIntyre Project has flown into town, literally on the wings of Gorey’s creepy Victorian and Edwardian-era creatures, for the Chicago premiere of The Vinegar Works: Four Dances of Moral Instruction, commissioned by The Harris Theater. 

Winning Works: Choreographers of Color Awards 2014

It was a cold and snowy evening last Saturday. The warm and cozy Broadway Playhouse in the Gold Coast (a change of venue from the still out-of-commission Harris Theater) served a fitting backdrop for the 2014 Choreographers of Color Award. Each year, three diverse choreographers are selected by the Joffrey Academy of Dance to present new work on its proficient group of Trainees.  It seems a mutually beneficial arrangement for the choreographers and dancers involved.

Hyde Park School of Dance Nutcracker Wraps Up 20th Anniversary Year

By Lynn Colburn Shapiro

How many Nutcrackers does it take to change a lightbulb? For Tye August, the answer is fourteen, the number of years the Lyric Opera Ballet Mistress and choreographer has been staging this version of The Nutcracker for The Hyde Park School of Dance (HPSD), where she is also Founding Artistic Director.