Interdisciplinary Dance Dominates November


Collaborations across disciplines fill November with a veritable cornucopia of interdisciplinary dance events. Look for exciting new work from some of Chicago’s most innovative dance makers this month, including forays into spoken word, visual art, live music, theater, photography, literature, fashion, and storytelling. Read on for a calendar of events you won’t want to miss!


Lucky Plush Productions presents Rooming House, their newest dance theater work premiering as part of Steppenwolf’s LookOut Series. (November 4-18, Steppenwolf 1700 Theater; Enter through Front Bar). Co-created by founder and artistic director Julia Rhoads and collaborating director Leslie Buxbaum Danzig, Rooming House synthesizes contemporary dance and theater to create a dynamic blueprint for exploring the question: what makes a person do something that could have life changing consequences? Playful and personal, Rooming House begins with an intimate conversation among friends, slipping easily between Spanish and English, as they recall stories of people who’ve taken actions with potentially devastating costs. When the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is mentioned, varied interpretations propel the group into a physically and psychologically complex game of whodunit, taking them down a rabbit hole into the lives of everyday people who do extraordinary things—from life endangering rescues, to defecting from Cuba, to letting go of someone you love. 

Rooming House features Lucky Plush ensemble members Kara Brody, Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Elizabeth Luse, Rodolfo Sánchez Sarracino, Aaron R. White and Meghann Wilkinson. Original music is by Michael Caskey. Lighting design by Alexander Ridgers.


COco Dance Theatre COCo Dance Theater PRESENTS Virago-Man Dem, the company’s newest evening-length, experimental dance-theatre work by Cynthia Oliver (7:30 PM, November 2-4, The Dance Center, Columbia College). Troubling the term “virago” and its reference to characteristically male behaviors and female cultural transgressions, Virago-Man Dem is a study in masculinities and their multiplicities within cultures of Caribbean and African American communities. Virago-Man Dem captures various masculinities through movement, spoken language and visual design and explores the expressions particular to Caribbean and African American black masculinities as they are performed and expressed by men, staged on male bodies, but designed and interpreted by a woman. The work is based on the lives of the men performing the work—Duane Cyrus, Jonathan Gonzalez and Niall Noel Jones—and asks, “How can a woman choreograph masculinity without resorting to stereotypes, but instead locate its nuances, challenges and ambiguities? Those very elements that black communities know so well and yet see rarely reflected in the culture at large?” Other events around this residency include Performing Black Masculinities: Where, How and for Whom?: October 30 at 7:00 p.m. Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, 915 E. 60th Street;

Post-Performance Conversation: Thursday, November 2; Pre-Performance Talk: Friday, November 3 at 6:30 p.m., Sherwood Community Music School recital hall, 1312 S. Michigan Ave.


The Seldoms The Seldoms’ newest dance, The Making, (7:30 PM, November 9 and 11, Pulaski Park Fieldhouse) continues the company’s investigation of power that began with the dance theater works Power Goes and RockCitizen. Sited in one of Chicago’s historic fieldhouses, The Making is a traveling multimedia triptych in collaboration with visual artists Bob Faust, Faheem Majeed, and Fraser Taylor. The Making, a piece without words, considers states and positions of voicelessness — of powerlessness — drawing attention to the perceptual lenses that render a person, a people, a neighborhood, a nation visible or invisible. As bodies surge, collapse, stutter, endure, and assert themselves in three distinct settings designed by three visual artists, The Making offer experiences of seeing, partially seeing or not seeing at all. The Making suggests that our recognition and understanding of others is tenuous and fragile, based on eyes that become organs either of empathy or division. The artistic team for The Making includes choreographer/director Carrie Hanson, visual artists Bob Faust, Faheem Majeed, Fraser Taylor, sound designer Mikhail Fiksel, lighting designer Julie Ballard, and costumer Melissa Leandro.


The Auditorium Theatre Opening The Auditorium Theatre commemorates the golden anniversary of its grand re-opening with A Golden Celebration of Dance: The 50th Anniversary, a one-night-only celebration of dance, (7:30 PM, November 12, Auditorium Theatre) honoring the Auditorium Theatre’s legendary dance history with a mixed repertory program featuring the greatest dancers from the world’s premier dance companies. This event memorializes the evening that the gloriously restored theatre re-opened in 1967 following a 26-year closure, when opening night patrons were treated to an unforgettable performance by New York City Ballet. Celebrate the past, present, and future of the Auditorium Theatre with this once-in-a-lifetime evening! The evening features dancers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theater, Dutch National Ballet, Eifman Ballet of St.Petersburg, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet, MOMIX, New York City Ballet, Parsons Dance, The Suzanne Farell Ballet, and the Washington Ballet. 



42nd Street Dury Lane Theatre presents the musical,  “42nd Street” (Oakbrook Terrace, October 26– JANUARY 7, 2018). Tap through this year’s holiday season with the Tony Award winner for Best Musical, 42nd Street! In this beloved Broadway classic, Peggy Sawyer lands a bigger break in New York City than expected. When the leading lady injures her ankle, Peggy gets the chance of a lifetime to rise from showgirl to star. With showstopping tap numbers and hits such as “We’re In The Money” and “Lullaby of Broadway,” there’s no question that 42nd Street will dazzle you this winter at Drury Lane Theatre.

Simantikos Dance Chicago presents “Moving Forward” (7 PM, November 4, Greenhouse Theater Center) Simantikos Dance Chicago is a contemporary modern dance company based in Pilsen. SDC is committed to presenting works that have a deeper meaning, often tackling social issues of today, while remaining thoroughly entertaining. Since its formation in 2015, SDC has performed in various cities throughout the U.S., and also internationally in Italy and Canada. “Moving Forward” will kick-off the company’s third season, featuring some fan-favorite pieces, along with new choreography by Haley McElwee. The program features choreography by Natalie Johnson (NYC), Ashley Deran (Chicago), Jul Kostelancik (Chicago) and Haley McElwee (Chicago)


Faye Driscoll's PLAY In Play, (7:30 PM, November 9-12, Museum of Contemporary Art) Bessie Award–winning director and choreographer Faye Driscoll uses the ritual of storytelling to explore our reliance on stories to relate to one another and form identities as individuals and citizens. Play is the second installment in her series Thank You for Coming, and focuses on the shadows, gaps, repetitions, and stutters between what we say and what we do while we say it. The physical and aural exist in a slippery relationship, as performers ventriloquize, shape-shift, and speak through and for each other.

This semi-fictional collective autobiography explores “who we are” as both mythically urgent and elusively empty beings, laying bare the dichotomous experience of self and the performance of self. It asks us to consider how personal and societal narratives both define and reduce our lived experience and inform the stories we tell about ourselves, in a strange and delightful meditation on language and the desire for meaning.

The Chicago premiere of Ballet 5:8’s “Compass” (7:30 PM, November 10, Athenaeum Theatre) is presented by Dance Chicago. Compass features four one-act ballets inspired by the challenges of navigating cultural tension in the present day. From an alien society to 1970’s Chicago, Compass stretches across time and space to explore some of our country’s most pressing topics. At times witty and satirical, and at times deeply emotional, Compass is full of athleticism, power and poetry. Audiences are invited to a post-show TalkBack panel discussion with Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Slager and artists of the company.

The Space Movement Project (TSMP) hosts Kristi Faulkner Dance (7:30 PM, November 10-12, Dovetail Studios). TSMP & Kristi Faulkner Dance announce the launch of GRUNT, a new touring network that serves to promote and support the potential for national presence of independent dance artists (7:30 PM, November 10-12, Dovetail Studios Chicago). The Space Movement Project (TSMP) is developed with Kristi Faulkner (Detroit), April Sellers Dance Collective (Minneapolis) and Sarah Webber-Gallo (Hoboken, NJ). An inaugural season of performance residencies is set for 2017 & 2018 in each city. Each residency invites the guest artist to teach, engage and share work with a new community of artists and audiences. ABOUT THE NETWORK

Ameya Performing Arts Ameya Performing Arts presents BOUNDLESS (5 PM, November 11, Chicago High School For The Arts “ChiArts”). The story of BOUNDLESS focuses on gender equality, women empowerment, overcoming cultural prejudices and conquering stereotypes. We aim to portray modern women and the highs and lows she may experience as she goes through various stages of life. Our showcase depicts these themes through Indian contemporary dance and storytelling.

Elements Ballet transforms the Hairpin Arts Center in Logan Square into the mythical world of Atlantis for In the Garden of Atlantis, (7 PM, November 18, Hairpin Arts Center) an interdisciplinary evening of dance and art. Event highlights include: runway-style fashion shows featuring Atlantis-inspired collections by Rebirth Garments, MJ Ernst, and Sky Cubacub; art exhibitions by watercolor artist Chloe Feldman Emison and company photographer Topher Alexander; live dance performances; and readings of new work by fantasy writer Miata Boayue. Light food, white wine, and specialty martinis will be served and included with the price of admission. 

Chicago Dance Crash Chicago Dance Crash celebrates its 15th year (8 PM, November 18, Athenaeum Theatre) with some of the company’s favorite repertory dance works, a few jokes, a few surprises, and tons of fun. This is one night only and the final day of Crash’s 2017 Season. 

Russian Grand Ballet is proud to present the world’s two most loved Classics– Swan Lake and The Nutcracker ( 3 PM, November 19, Athenaeum Theatre). These magical tales, both offering the glorious music of Tchaikovsky, and the gravity-defying choreography of Marius Petipa, have enchanted audiences for over a century, and continue to inspire new generations of dancers and music lovers of all ages. Swan Lake will also be performed at 3 PM, November 30, at Harris Theater.  Swan Lake is the story of Odette, a beautiful princess, who falls under the spell of an evil sorcerer. Only Prince Siegfried's devotion can save her. Swan Lake combines pure romanticism and tragedy, in a magical tale of love and deception. This full - length production features the rarely performed Waltz of the Black Swans.

Choreographers Megan Rhyme and Tanniqua-Kay Buchanan explore the idea of chasms -- chasms between private behavior and public speech, between cool and warm colors, and between hope and dread in this evening of short dance works. (7:30 PM, November 30-December 1, Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater).