Fasten your seat belts! April takes off with Chicago Dance Month, jam-packed with site-specific happenings and performances in public venues and neighborhoods throughout the city.
Chicago Dance Month offers many ways to discover our city’s energetic and varied dance scene with more than 50 performances, events, and classes,
This year, there are 27 free events across the city, and many at a special Dance Month “Hot Deal” discount rate. You can also take advantage of numerous opportunities to visit open rehearsals and catch free pop-up performances featuring a fantastic array of dance artists and organizations.
Kicking off the festivities April 1st at Walgreens on State Street is Audience Architects’ Dance Month launch. Culture Shock Chicago, Tapman Productions, and Natya Dance Theater, rotate throughout the afternoon from noon to 5 PM. You can also catch Natya at noon at Macy’s Flower Show.
DANCE MONTH HIGHLIGHTS:
Giordano Dance Chicago premieres “Sneaky Pete” (April 1-2, Harris Theater), a new full-company work by award-winning Chicago-based choreographer, Brock Clawson.
With a theater director’s sensibilities and a unique skill in creating fascinating movement narratives, Clawson has created a deliciously intriguing new work with a nod to film noir.
Clawson’s expansive choreographic career includes commissioned works for the Joffrey Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Dance Kaleidoscope, and The Houston Metropolitan Dance Company. Awards include the Dance Chicago 2005 Outstanding Choreography Award and the Cliff Dwellers Arts Organization's 2006 Choreographer of the Year Award; Clawson also received a Jeff Award nomination for his choreography for The Paramount Theater’s 2015 production of “The Who's TOMMY.” In addition to “Sneaky Pete,” the program will feature Roni Koresh’s “EXit4” (2013), Autumn Eckman’s “commonthread” (2009), Kiesha Lalama’s full-company work “Alegria” (2011), Jon Lehrer’s “Like 100 Men” (2002), and Gus Giordano’s “Sing, Sing, Sing” (1983).
Experience tap and percussive dance as you never imagined it with eight different approaches to the art form on stage this month. Chicago Tap Theatre creates “Time Steps,” a story-in-tap, at Stage 773 (April 1-10). Billy Siegenfeld directs and Mark Yonally choreographs CTT’s brand new tap dance drama, with original music by Kurt Schweitz, performed live on stage. The story, written and narrated by Marc Kelly Smith, mixes love romance and tragedy in Kelly’s sixth collaboration with CTT.
Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s “Stomping Grounds” features five different companies showcasing African, Irish, Mexican, Spanish, Japanese, and American cultural traditions in a celebration of rhythmic arts that connects diverse communities through rhythm. “Stomping Grounds” free events take place at various locations (April 4, 16, and 27), continue throughout May, culminating June 4th in CHRP’s Chicago Rhythm Fest at the Auditorium Theatre.
JorsTAP Chicago presents “Abstraction” (April 29-30, Fulton Street Collective), playing out the title’s definition, “the quality of dealing with ideas rather than events; the freedom from representational qualities in art.” In a non-traditional performance space within Fulton Market, jorsTAP will perform a reboot of its previous show, Rackets, in which dancers literally turn the way viewers perceive tap dance upside-down. In maintaining its collaborative roots, the company will once again team up with a series of artists to challenge audiences' understanding of tap dance and art as a whole.
Tapman Productions continues its family-friendly performances of “The Adventures of Tapman,” (April 30, Stage 773). Follow Tapman, Chicago's premiere tap dancing superhero, as he battles his arch nemesis, The MADD Tapper. Along the way, Tapman joins forces with The Modern Marvel, a crime-fighting modern dancer, in his quest to defeat The MADD Tapper. The Adventures of Tapman features light-hearted, 60s-era comic book humor, elaborate projected special effects, and phenomenal tap dancing including the unique tap dance fighting style, Tap-Fu!
Modern Dance highlights begin this month with Hedwig Dance’s “Circling The Square” (Athenaeum Theatre, April 8-9), an evening of two works by Hedwig’s Artistic Director, Jan Bartoszek. A new work, “Trio M,” is based on numerical and metaphorical references to the number “three. “ASCENDance” is a multi-disciplinary dance theater production depicting renewal and transformation in a chaotic world.
The DuSable Museum of African American History is the venue for Red Clay Dance Theatre’s world premiere of “Written on the Flesh,” (April 8-9), a highly charged dance work that tackles the question, “what is the residue of elegant racism and how is it written on the flesh?” The work explores themes of identity, systematic racial inequity, and the history of mass violence perpetuated against black bodies in this country. The ensemble of 8 women take you on a journey, in search of the honesty, resilience, forgiveness, and love that is needed begin anew and create a society where true equality exists for all Americans?
Mordine and Company’s “Colliisions,” (Links Hall, April 22-24) COLLISIONS is a sequence of episodes that takes on ideas of immediate impact on our lives: tension between generations, cultures, and climatic changes. This project is a culmination of the depth, history, invention, teaching, and collaborations that Shirley Mordine has experienced in her years as Artistic Director. The project includes: a duet composed and performed by Hema Rajagopalan and Mordine, the fifth collaboration between Mordine and Rajagopalan, which contrasts two women of age from different cultural traditions; a dance choreographed by the Company dancers and set on Mordine to examine the role of age in relation to teaching, learning, voice and author; a work composed by puppeteer Michael Montenegro that will pair Mordine with a life-size puppet operated by two dancers; and a piece for five dancers derived from images of disruption and change as witnessed in nature.
Kyle Abraham brings “When the Wolves Came In” to the Museum of Contemporary Art (April 28-30) A dancer, choreographer, and director of the dance company Abraham.In.Motion, he often draws from his personal experiences to explore themes of adversity in his works. Trained in cello and piano from an early age, his pieces draw a rich relationship between music and dance. “When the Wolves Came In” references two
triumphs in the history of civil rights and raises questions about how
much progress we have actually made toward racial equality. Abraham took inspiration from jazz composer/drummer Max Roach’s iconic 1960 protest album We Insist! Freedom Now Suite, which celebrated the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation and shed light on the growing civil rights movements in South Africa and the
ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS OF NOTE:
Rennie Harris and Michael Sakamoto continue their residency (March 31-April 2) at The Dance Center of Columbia College with “Flash,” their collaborative Hip-Hop/Butoh duet.
RE/Dance Group’s “What Brings Me To This Place” (seechicagodance “Reviews”) continues through April 1st at Hamlin Park Field House. RE|dance group, established in 2009 by Lucy Riner and Michael Estanich, is a Chicago based contemporary dance theatre company.
Chicago Dancemakers Forum presents “When I consider How My Light Is Spent” (DEFIBRILLATOR, April 7-9).
Visceral Dance Chicago performs "Spring Three," its third annual season at the Harris Theater April 9.
High Concept Labs hosts Body + New Works In Dance and Technology, an evening of performance constructed within a post-digital context. Curated and produced by Cynthia Bond of CreativeBond, body ± brings together three dance works by visual artists and choreographers interrogating technology as it both supplements and supplants the moving body. Beverages courtesy of Lagunitas Brewing Company.
Seedbeds 1: Defining the Neo-Judson (Home & Hung Jury, April 8) Produced with the generous support of The Chicago Dancemakers Forum, Audience Architects and Links Hall, Seedbeds 1 is presented as preparation for an ongoing series of performances that will serve as investigation into the familiar Judson Church moment in dance history.
B-Funky Fresh Cyber-Style “Panel Discussion” (The Dance Center, April8-9) features local, national and internationally recognized artists for The Dance Center of Columbia College’s spring 2016 edition of its B-Series, a biannual mini-festival celebrating hip hop and street dance culture. All events are free and open to the public.
Synapse Arts/Hope Goldman performs in the Audience Architects event at the Chicago Cultural Center. (4 PM, April 8)
Mandala Arts and Old Town School of Folk Music host Bollywood Masala Global Dance Party (Old Town School of Folk Music, April 8)
Chicago Park District will host the event: Community Rhythms: A Celebration of Dance in the Parks at Austin Town Hall on Saturday, April 9th from 2 - 6 PM.
The Dancers’ Cooperative presents “Scratch” (Beauty and Brawn Gallery and Think Space, April 9-11). Under the direction of MaryAnn McGovern, Scratch weaves together a charged movement vocabulary, story-telling, and documentation of street performances.
Jolere, inspired by the visual art work of Chicago artist René Romero Schuler," explores women's identity in modern society. (McAninch Center, College of DuPage, April 13)
Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre’s “Inside/Out” presents Marc Macaranas and the music of Miles Davis in an interactive performance and dialog about the choreographic process . (April 14, Old Town School of Folk Music)
Kristina Isabelle Dance presents her multi-disciplinary “Three Rooms: A Progressive Dance Series” at High Concept Labs (April 14, 21, and 28).
Honey Pot Performance stages “Ma(s)king Her,” a dance theater work addressing the absence of women of color in speculative fiction as empowered future beings and journeywomen. (Jay Pritzker Pavillion, April 14-16)
Ballet 5:8 presents “Making Space,” (Ballet 5:8 Studios, Frankfort, IL, April 15), a choreographer's forum, providing a unique, positive space where choreographers can create, experiment, see their work come to life on the stage, and engage in discussion with the audience. The Making Space Showcase, culminating the Making Space project, features a wide variety of dance-based works created by participating choreographers.
Dabkeh Palestinian Folk Dance presents a Global Dance Party (Old Town School of Folk Music, April 15)
Set Free (Links Hall, April 18) The four artists participating in this new series are Peter Carpenter, Lisa Gonzales, Jessica Marasa and Ysaye McKeever.
A SET FREE residency at Links Hall includes five Monday evening showings shared amongst four artists each receiving 25 minutes per evening to repeat and revisit the development of their work. The series ends with one final weekend performance split amongst all four artists involved. Tea and light snacks will be served at each performance.
Emily Stein Dance presents “Secret Experiments in Ballet #4 Phantom Dance” (Dovetail Studios, April 22-24) Emily Stein continues to play in the intersection of improvisation and the ballet vocabulary.
Davis DeJesus presents a Global Dance Party at Old Town School of Folk Music (April 22)
Duncan Dance Chicago performs “Dancing Into Spring” (Joffrey Academy, April 23) is a free professional performance.
Antibody Corporation presents “Versus-Adam Rose” (Chicago Cultural Center, April 28-30). The world premiere work choreographed by Adam Rose explores the meaning of against and in opposition to. This new experimental dance piece uses minimal choreography based on the words used to describe the body along with words in Inglash, a constructed language.
Regional Dance America MidStates Festival takes place at the North Shore Center For The Performing Arts, Skokie, April 29-30)
Danceworks Chicago presents “Dance Chance,” its monthly showcase of work in progress, with audience interaction. (April 29, Lou Conte Studio)
Marlene Skog brings her sultry, elegant choreography to the stage with the unique and unusual pairing of contemporary ballet and spoken word in her evening-length concert Mosaic, (April 29-30, ). Set against a backdrop of original music and resonant poetry, Mosaic, which is Skog’s first concert in Chicago, weaves several short dance narratives, expressive solos and thrilling ensemble work together to evoke the very real and relevant human experiences of displacement—pain, solitude, chaos, pleasure, brilliance and madness.
Audience Architects invites you to Federal Plaza at 4:30 PM, April 29th, to sample ten different Chicago Dance Month companies including Red Clay, Project Bound, Winifred Haun & Dancers, Esoteric Dance Project, Joel Hall & Dancers, Ballet 5:8, Carson Reiners, Nomi Dance Company, Natya Dance Theater, and Tapman Productions.