Chicago Dance Month officially kicks off March 27th for a month-long bonanza of great dance events, ticket deals, workshops, and free concerts. Chicago’s annual April celebration of dance is the perfect time to explore the rich variety of styles and creative partnerships at work in the Chicago dance community, making our city one of the nation’s most exciting dance centers.
Join See Chicago Dance as we celebrate the kickoff to Chicago Dance Month 2018! (Tuesday, March 27th, 4:30 PM; Chicago Cultural Center). All are welcome to an afternoon performance in Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center, followed by a reception to celebrate Chicago dance. Participating artists to be finalized soon.
Open Studio Thursdays takes place (4:30-6 PM March 22-May 10), Chicago Cultural Center Dance Studio.
DANCE MONTH EVENTS:
RE/dancegroup stages the Chicago premiere of the full evening length version of The Mysterious Disappearance Of The Second Youngest Sister (7:30 PM, March 29-30; Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theatre). Using RE|dance group's unique flair for the dramatic, this evening length work creates a claustrophobic room filled with stacks of books that the dancers navigate as they strive for power and control. The costumes and set decor hint at the Victorian era where romance and imagination govern the mind of a young woman. The dance is driven by images of sight, desire, and curiosity, creating a non-linear narrative that draws the audience into the dancers' world and allows for relationships to unfold. RE|dance group members Daiva Bhandari, Stacy DeMorrow, Michael Estanich, and Lucy Riner are featured in this intensely dramatic, physical, and daring work.
DanceWorks Chicago is excited to partner with the Lou Conte Dance Studio on DANCE CHANCE (7 PM, March 30, and April 27, Lou Conte Dance Studio), a one-hour event designed to offer opportunities for choreographers to show their work informally, create a forum for dialogue among artists, and build audience for dance.
Cattywampus Dance presents CODDIWAMPLE (8 PM, March 30-31, Ruth Page Center for the Arts.
STOMPING GROUNDS, kicks off its fourth year on Monday, April 2nd at the Chicago Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theater (6 PM, April 2, Chicago Cultural Center). This opening event will feature all of the companies participating in 2018 (see below for a list). The events are free and open to the public, but if you would like to support the arts and STOMPING GROUNDS, you may reserve a supporter ticket (applicable to some venues). Stomping Grounds is a free, two-month citywide celebration of authentic, rhythmic dance companies from a variety of world cultures, including American tap, Spanish, Mexican, African, Indian, Native American, Hip-hop, and Irish dance. The series culminates with the grand finale at the Pritzker Pavilion in Milennium Park on Thursday, June 7.
Each STOMPING GROUNDS event, known as a "Performalogue," features the performers and Artistic Directors of selected companies in a narrated performance and Q&A with the audience. And each event features a different lineup! For a list of locations and lineups, please see below.
The featured Chicago companies are:
• Black Hawk Performance Company
• Chicago Human Rhythm Project
• Chicago Dance Crash
• Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater
• Mexican Folk Dance Company of Chicago
• Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago
• Natya Dance Theatre
• Trinity Irish Dance Company
• Trinity Irish Dance Ensemble
NOTE: Ticket holders are allowed priority entry up to 10 minutes before showtime, otherwise seats will be given to those on the waitlist.
Clinard Dance and Cultura Pilsen will present an excerpt of Everyday People/Everyday Action (6 PM, April 5, Joseph Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago; 3 PM, April 8, National Museum of Mexican Art), based on photos of the Pilsen neighborhood by Akito Tsuda, with a talkback with Tsuda, Clinard and Cultura Pilsen to follow at 7:00pm.
How many times does a bus driver turn his/her steering wheel from one end of his/her route to the other? How many glasses does a bartender wash? How many city streets does a bike messenger cover? These and a thousand other everyday repetitive actions are the inspiration for a new interdisciplinary work. The rhythm of Tsuda's photos and the people in them going through everyday repetitive actions is the percussive fuel for this performance. The work incorporates influences from Gypsy jazz, klezmer, flamenco and classical Spanish as they seek to tell a story about everyday people doing everyday actions; actions that celebrate, articulate, and magnify the understated beauty of the ordinary.
The Bebe Miller Dance company presents In a Rhythm (7:30 PM, April 5-7, The Dance Center Columbia College) a suite of new dance works based on the dynamics of adaptation and translation. Inspired by the writings of Gertrude Stein, Toni Morrison, and David Foster Wallace, whose voices capture diverse cultural relevancies through their structure of language, In a Rhythm looks at the syntax of movement—how we apprehend meaning through the juxtaposed dynamics of action and context in time and space. This work is being created within an overarching collaborative project as an investigation into innovative ways of sharing the creative process.
Visceral Dance Chicago rounds out its 2017-2018 season at the Harris Theater with SPRINGFIVE (7:30 PM, April 6, Harris Theater). The company celebrates its five-year anniversary with striking world premiers by Guest Artist, Kevin O’Day and Artistic Director, Nick Pupillo, returning work by Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Recipient, Danielle Agami, as well as reprised audience favorites. SPRINGFIVE showcases the growth and impressive coming-of-age of this dynamic Chicago company.
Point I Line I Plane (7:30 PM, April 6-7, Ruth Page Center for the Arts) features dances by Hedwig Dances’ artistic director Jan Bartoszek and resident choreographer Victor Alexander that “blur the line between movement and visual art.” (Chicago Magazine) The program title references the theory of 20th century painter Wassily Kandinsky that art extends itself beyond literal representation to express the artist’s internal reality.
CHICAGO DANCE MONTH continues with Mid Month Pop UP PERFORMANCES (4:30 PM, April 10, Block 37).
Bessie Award–winning artist Okwui Okpokwasili and director-designer Peter Born use an interdisciplinary approach to examine gender, culture, and identity as they are
expressed in American and global contexts. Poor People’s TV Room (7:30 April 12 and 14; 3 PM, April 15, Museum of Contem[orary Art) is concerned with how to recover buried histories, particularly of movements of resistance and collective action in Nigeria. This exploration was set in motion by two historical incidents: the Women’s War of 1929, a resistance movement against British colonial powers, and the Boko Haram kidnappings of more than 300 girls in 2014, which launched the Bring Back Our Girls movement. In this work that brings together choreography, song, text, and film, Okpokwasili performs with three women from different generations. Poor People’s TV Room, which blends original score and dance with Okpokwasili’s contemporary dance aesthetic, exists in a psychic landscape concerned with the loss of memory and invisibility. The result is a narrative by brown women contending with the meaning of their bodies in relation to each other—a potent reflection of the effects the erasure of women’s histories has on contemporary societies today.
SHEN YUN’S unique artistic vision expands theatrical experience into a multi-dimensional, inspiring journey through one of humanity’s greatest treasures—the five millennia of traditional Chinese culture (7:30 PM, April 12-13; 2 PM and 7:30 PM, April 14; 1 PM and 6 PM, April 15, Harris Theater). This epic production immerses you in stories reaching back to the most distant past. You’ll explore realms even beyond our visible world. Featuring one of the world’s oldest art forms— classical Chinese dance—along with patented scenographical effects and all-original orchestral works, Shen Yun opens a portal to a civilization of enchanting beauty and enlightening wisdom.
Traditional Chinese culture—with its profoundly optimistic worldview and deep spiritual roots—was displaced by communism in China. Today, only the New York-based Shen Yun is keeping this precious heritage alive on stage. And it’s an experience that will take your breath away.
As part of Chicago Dance Month's celebrations, view a Joel Hall Dancers Open rehearsal (4:30-6:30pm,all Dancers and Center).
SET FREE (7:30 PM, April 16, Links Hall) supports the progression of creative work through performance. It provides independent movement artists repeated access to space where their work can be shown, shared and revisited throughout its development. In recognizing that public performance can deliver different discoveries than those found in the studio, SET FREE creates the possibility for one’s studio and performance practices to be interwoven as the project progresses over time. This series is interested in increasing influence and overlapping appreciation among emerging and experienced artists working within the structures of SET composition and FREE improvisation.
Emma Draves’ ”What Follows" is a companion piece for “Listen,” the work she has been developing over the course of the past year in collaboration with Andy Slavin.
Keisha Janae’s "I am digging I am haunting" is about a digging process. It is the exploration in finding peace with our shadow.
Julia Mayer’s "TBD" draws on her embodied experiences as a practitioner of qi gong, a jazz lover, and a mother--and a strong desire to fly like a bird--Julia's work glides seamlessly from improvised movement maps to composed sequences and back. In this new work, Mayer, as much cartographer as choreographer, attempts to navigate the treacherous waters of grief and loss, avoiding the sirens of melodrama, and, as always, relishing the serious pursuit of play.
Tara Aisha Willis’s "Bertha" builds a density of present-tense and strangely historical sensation across a memory-plagued, physically emotional landscape.
Noumenon Dance Ensemble’s Spring Preview (7:30 PM, April 18, Links Hall) is an hour-long show that will premiere 3 new pieces of repertoire by Kristi Andarcia, Kristi Licera, and Alia Simon Montijo with a guest performance by South Chicago Dance Theater.
Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre's 2017 fall concert series was "fun, sexy," "poignant," & "haunting." (Chicago Tribune) Join this energetic company of dancers and musicians to relive highlights from 2017 and be the first to glimpse what's in store for 2018 in a Company Showcase and Sneak Preview ( 7 PM, April 19, Old Town School of Folk Music).
As a part of Chicago Dance Month's celebrations, The Legacy of Joel Hall (6 PM, April 21, Joel Hall Dancers and Center) examines the rich history of the Joel Hall Dancers, their inception, and the ways in which Joel Hall Dancers & Center is a vital part of Chicago’s dance history. Directors Joel Hall and Jacki Sinclair will discuss the connections to and significance of music in Mr. Hall’s choreography, and the ways music is intertwined and utilized in Hall's choreographic works. They will delve into the company’s mission, and Hall’s triggers for inspiration, resulting in the diverse works in the company’s repertoire, with select pieces of the repertoire being performed by the first company during this event.
STOMPING GROUNDS visits Chicago's northwest side (7:30 PM, Saturday, April 21; Irish American Heritage Center). This event will feature the Trinity Irish Dance Company alongside Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago and Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater. The event is free and open to the public, but if you would like to support the arts and STOMPING GROUNDS, you may reserve a supporter ticket (applicable to some venues).
Dancing with the Stars’ choreographers Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd will take the Chicago Theatre stage on Sunday, April 22, 2018 at 7:30PM for Maks, Val & Peta Live On Tour: Confidential. Following a smash hit first tour, Maks and Val, the hottest stars of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars are back with an all new spectacular show and this time the family has grown. Joining them in their brand new show Confidential, the stunningly talented, Peta Murgatroyd, two time Dancing With The Stars Mirror Ball champion, actress and Mrs Maks Chmerkovskiy. The trio along with a dazzling cast of the industry’s best dancers are coming to the stage this Spring, performing in 49 cities across America starting March 19 through to May 16, 2018.
Join Old Town School of Folk Music for their ADULT DANCE STUDENT SHOWCASE (7:15 PM, April 24, Old Town School of Folk Music), a night of celebrating dance as our adult students present pieces they have been rehearsing in class. This mulit-disciplinary show includes both culturally specific and world dances along with social dances.
Following Yumiko's acclaimed solo "Before the Dawn", this is the second part of her trilogy "From 1 to 100". 100 Light Years of Solitude (7 PM, April 25, Links Hall) is inspired by Garcia Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" to explore a state of solitude Yumiko dances the life of a unique creature, born on a planet 100 light years away from ours. Imagining that this creature is the only one of its species on that planet, it enjoys unfolding its life until it realizes its destiny... to exist in solitude. Yumiko says, "In my childhood, I was always fascinated by the imaginary creatures and monsters of fairy tales. Butoh, a dance of metamorphosis, helps me to explore this imaginary world, and make something invisible visible."
The Joffrey Ballet’s MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (April 26-May 6, Auditorium Theatre) is not Shakespeare's midsummer. Swedish trailblazer Alexander Ekman astounds with this ode to the longest day of the year. Delight in joyful abandon and romance under the Scandinavian sun as dancers celebrate and let their imaginations run wild. A tour de force that took Stockholm by storm. North American Premiere.
Lucky Plush Presents Tab Show (7:30 PM, April 26-27, Harris Theater for Music and Dance). Tab Show features two distinct Lucky Plush excerpts paired to highlight the company's signature blend of layered choreography, witty dialog, and socially relevant storytelling. Along with favorite Lucky Push repertoire, the company will premiere a new work developed with collaborator, Bethany Clearfield, Chicago-based vocalist and composer.
Celebrate this milestone with the dancers of jorsTAP chicago! 6 (8 PM, April 27, 28 and May 4; 3 PM, April 29 and May 4, Fulton Street Collective) and will feature some of the most cherished pieces in the company's repertoire, as well as new ones that will be remembered as favorites in the years to come.
Ballet 5:8's COMPASS (7 PM, April 28, Moody Bible Institute) is a collection of four original ballets that stretch across time and space to explore some of the most pressing topics in our country and in our cities today. This evening of dance reflects on the challenges of navigating current issues and cultural tension - with compassion. At times witty and satirical, and at times deeply emotional, Compass is full of athleticism, power and poetry.A portion of each Compass Project Chicago ticket purchased will be donated to World Relief, which stands with the vulnerable and partners with local churches to end the cycle of suffering, transform lives and build sustainable communities.
Ballet 5:8 and World Relief are both 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations.
STOMPING GROUNDS visits Pilsen (7:30 PM, April 28, National Museum of Mexican Art). This event will feature the Mexican Folk Dance Company of Chicago alongside Natya Dance Theatre and Trinity Irish Dance Company. Our events are free and open to the public, but if you would like to support the arts and STOMPING GROUNDS, you may reserve a supporter ticket (applicable to some venues).
BODY PASSAGES SERIES (7:30 PM, April 28, Uncommon Ground Edgewater ) is a poetry and dance incubator series by Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble and The Poetry Center of Chicago. CDE and PCC pair professional dancers and poets to create their own artist-led projects fusing language and movement.
In partnership with April's Chicago Dance Month with Audience Architects & SeeChicagoDance, Esoteric Dance Project hosts members of the dance community for a "Work-In-Progress Showing” (12:30 PM, April 29, Dovetail Studios) Join each presenter as they showcase their work-in-progress and offer them unique one-on-one feedback for the growth of their project. Don't miss out on this exclusive behind-the-scene look into the choreographic process and an distinctive opportunity to sculpt multiple works of art.
Based on Dostoyevsky's "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man", this full-length narrative returns to the stage by audience demand. Visceral Dance Chicago’s THE DREAM (3 PM, April 29, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Skokie) explores the nuances of human emotion and intention, accompanied live onstage by the exceptional Chicago Philharmonic.
Natya Dance Theatre presents Rama Vaidyanathan's Vivartana (5 PM, April 29, Pfeiffer Hall, North Central College, Naperville).
Dance transforms my pulse to pace with rhythm and I become one with rhythm
Dance transforms the space around me and I become one with space
Dance transforms my body from stillness to motion and I become one with movement
Dance transforms my soul from singular to plural and I become one with the world
Join See Chicago Dance as we celebrate the closing of Chicago Dance Month 2018 with a progressive event that starts on the steps of the Chicago Cultural Center and continues down Michigan Avenue, with site-specific performances along the way, and concluding with a reception at a TBD location along the Riverwalk. Participating artists to be finalized soon.
Chicago Dance Month Celebration and Scavenger Hunt, April 30, 4:30–6 p.m.: a progressive event that starts on the steps of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street
For Details and Tickets go to seechicagodance.com, and click on "Upcoming Events."