Lively Fall Season for Chicago Dance


Dance in Chicago revs up for a lively fall season with major companies, smaller ensembles, solo artists, and interdisciplinary projects. 


HARVEST CHICAGO CONTEMPORARY DANCE FESTIVAL (HCCDF) presents its eighth anniversary event (8 PM, September 8-9; 8 PM, September 15-16, Ruth Page Center for the Arts). HCCDF's mission is to celebrate the work of practicing contemporary dance artists.  Over two weekends in September, twenty dance companies from around Chicago and across the country meet for a series of  dynamic, innovative performances.  Please join us for this amazing dance event!  Audiences will see a different lineup of contemporary dance companies each weekend, with the same program offered both Friday and Saturday nights. The first weekend will present Aerial Dance Chicago (IL), The Dance COLEctive (IL),  Agua Dulce Dance Theater (VA), Dmitri Peskov (UT), Paige Calderella (IL), Jordan Reinwald and Osnel Delgado Wambrug (IL/Cuba), Maya Taylor Dance (LA), Emma Draves (IL), Giordano II (IL), and Jennifer Glaws (MN). The second weekend presents Synapse Arts (IL), Elements Contemporary Ballet (IL), Brady Van Patten and Zachary Bird (IL), RE|Dance Group (IL), Jesse Factor (IA), Brandon Coleman (IL), Rebecca McLindon Blanchard (IL), Corinne Imberski (IL), Ariel Lembeck(NY),  and Aaron McGloin Dance (NY).Harvest Dance Chicago


VISCERAL DANCE CHICAGO’S fifth season launches with two performances of its Fall Engagement program,  (7:30 PM, September 16th, North Shore Center For the Performing Arts, Skokie), offering works such as Mark Godden's technically dynamic Minor Threat, Nick Pupillo's newest visual sensation Synapse, crowd favorite Ruff Celts by Marguerite Donlon, and a world premiere by Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Recipient Danielle Agami.


HUBBARD STREET DANCE CHICAGO’S Space, In Perspective, (7:30 PM, September 21-24, Harris Theater), is an immersive and interactive dance installation choreographed and creative-directed by Peter Chu, So You Think You Can Dance guest choreographer and Artistic Director of chuthis. Kicking off its 40th Anniversary Season, Space, In Perspective covers all spaces of the Harris Theater. Incorporating original music by former Music Director for Cirque Du Soleil, Jean-Francois (DJeff) Houle, video projections by Sven Ortel, and lighting by Marcus Doshi, as well as the addition of 15 dancers from the Hubbard Street Professional Program, this performance — the first of its kind in Hubbard Street’s four decade history — re-invents the audience experience through moving imagery and changing perspectives. This unconventional gallery-style performance invites audience members to explore the unseen backstage of the Harris Theater.  Join the dancers on a choreographed adventure backstage, up and down hallways, through dressing rooms, and on the stage alongside the dancers.Hubbard Street in "Space, In Perspective"


After a 10-plus- year absence, CHICAGO HUMAN RHYTHM PROJECT (CHRP) opens the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago’s 2017–18 season with a program assembled by Founder and Director Lane Alexander and CHRP Artist In Residence Dani Borak (7:30 PM, September 21–23 at the Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago).The program features an eclectic collection of works, including the first part of a world-premiere conceptual work by Borak melding contemporary and  urban dance with American foot drumming. Also on the program are MacArthur Fellowship (“Genius”) winner Michelle Dorrance’s Push Past Break, a work blending two iconic American art forms, the blues and tap dance, that she created for CHRP with support from the Princess Grace Foundation and the Auditorium Theatre’s Movement + Movement Festival; one of Alexander’s signature works, Prisms, which explores psychological disintegration and healing; as well as a medley of classic dances created by African-American tap masters Buster Brown, Lon Chaney and Harold “Stumpy” Cromer. Special guest Earlyn Whitehead will appear with her ensemble to reprise a work, created with funding from CHRP. Cartier Williams will also join the ensemble as a guest artist to present his celebrated works  "Rhythm Refix" and  "ZigityBop". Chicago Human Rhythm Project


THE JOFFREY BALLET, in its first-ever collaboration with Lyric Opera of Chicago, performs in one of opera’s most beautiful masterpieces, “ORPHEE ET EURYDICE” (September 23-October 15, Lyric Opera House). Gluck’s exquisite drama introduces us to Orpheus, the poet and musician whose every word and note communicate the most overwhelming love for his Eurydice. Refusing to accept her death, he courageously journeys to the Underworld to bring her back to life. The music reaches true heights of eloquence and emotion. Lyric presents Orphée et Eurydice in the Paris version, which contains thrilling ballet sequences that will come to vivid life under the direction and choreography of the legendary John Neumeier, making his Lyric Opera debut as Director, Choreographer, and Set/Costume/Lighting Designer. Considered one of the world’s leading choreographers, Neumeier is originally from Milwaukee, trained as a dancer in Chicago, and has been based in Germany for nearly 50 years; currently artistic director of the Hamburg Ballet. In this brand new production, co-produced with Los Angeles Opera and Hamburg Opera, Orphée the poet and musician is reimagined as a choreographer, and his beloved Eurydice is a ballerina; dance moves the plot as much as music.John Neumieir and The Joffrey in "Orphée"


“PRAKRITI: A HISTORY OF THE PRESENT” (8:30 PM, September 1st; 4 PM, September 3rd; and 5:30 PM, September 9th; Congregational Church of Jefferson Park’s Gym, 5320 W Giddings, 3rd Floor), explores our unwillingness to accept views, beliefs or behaviors that differ from our own. This work in development traverses through our journey to find our tribe, our reactions (fear and dominance) to the different, and our ways to find balance. The initial research process involved discussions, interviews and surveys to study people's reaction and their means to find balance in the current social-political environment. Choreographers Kinnari Vora and Preeti Veerlapati use movements inspired by daily life routine, nature elements, primal movements and experiment with sound effects created by personal vocals, body beats and bamboo sticks.This dance production is rooted in Indian classical dance, Indian tribal and folk dance, the South Indian martial art form of Kalaripayattu, and Western modern/contemporary dance forms. Music for sections 1 and 2 was composed in collaboration with Bob Garrett.Prakriti


CONCERT DANCE, INC (CDI) returns to the Ravinia Festival as part of the annual Ruth Page Festival of Dance (7 PM, Sept. 7th and 7:30 PM, Sept. 8th, in Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall). Regularly commissioned by Ravinia to present new works, the CDI performance marks the world premiere of Artistic Director Venetia Stifler’s critically-acclaimed full-length work originally created in 1985 but reimagined for the 21st century, The Chicago Project: Future Present. If you could revisit one of your first successful projects 30 years later and reinterpret it, would you take the risk? In 1985, Artistic Director and Emmy Award-nominated choreographer, Venetia Stifler, created the critically acclaimed “The Chicago Project.” Her goal in 2017 was to reimagine this favorite dance using today’s technology, and with the eyes of a choreographer who’s creative process and point of view have evolved. The premiere of The Chicago Project: Future Present explores the human kinesthetic and emotional relationship to the form, texture, materials and design of architecture, especially Chicago architecture, including accompanying images created by visual artist Frank Vodvarka.Concert Dance, Inc.


SEMI-CIRCUS presents “MURMURATIONS,” (7 PM, September 8th; 2:30 PM, September 9th; and 5:30 PM, September 10th, Chicago Fringe Festival), a Chicago-based contemporary circus company focused on bringing together the power of storytelling with the entertainment of circus. “Murmurations” is a unique take on human psychology with a drive towards the artistic, the playful, and the fantastical with their family-friendly show.


SPECTRUM (7 PM, September 15-17, Links Hall) is an artistic collaboration between movement, theatre, and visual artists which explores the complex reality of those living with mental or physical characteristics that are deemed by society as \'abnormal.\' Each artist uses his/her own experience of existing within the concept of a spectrum in order to open a dialogue with other artists from varying backgrounds. “Spectrum” works to bring the beauty of a mind that is never docile, a mind that does not match the status quo, into visual and physical manifestation. 


CERQUA RIVERA DANCE THEATRE presents its latest installment of “Inside/Out” (7 PM, September 21st, Old Town School of Folk Music). Get an early look at two exciting multi-arts pieces by CRDT Co-Founder and Artistic Director Wilfredo Rivera. Wilfredo is developing the next phase of American Catracho, the first movement of which debuted in 2016. This expansive suite, slated for completion in 2019, explores immigration - from the trauma of leaving a birthplace to the shock of arriving in a new one and the challenge of making it home. In addition, Chicago Sinfonietta commissioned Wilfredo to collaborate with Grammy nominee Clarice Assad in honor of the orchestra's 30th Anniversary in 2017. Clarice created Sin Fronteras, a fusion of Latin American music and American Jazz, and Wilfredo will add a movement narrative celebrating this diversity and the beauty it creates - themes central to both the Sinfonietta and CRDT.

Experience these new works in progress performed by our Dance & Music Ensembles, chat with Wilfredo and his collaborators about how and why they've created these pieces and what they plan to do next, AND shape these works before they premiere at CRDT's 2017 Fall Concert Series (October 5-7 at Links Hall).


In BLACKBIRD’S VENTRILOQUY (7 PM, September 22-28; 3:30 Pm, September 29; and 5 PM, September 30, Links Hall), MOLLY SHANAHAN reopens the archive of her 2007 solo project My Name is a Blackbird, the 2007 project that changed her approach to body, dance, and performance. The archive that informs Blackbird’s Ventriloquy is both literal and figurative, based palpably in Shanahan’s body, and in dozens of hours of archival video footage, recorded conversations/interviews, and personal journals.  Shanahan states, "Blackbird's Ventriloquy is a new project with a long and complicated memory. I’m joined by Kevin O'Donnell, who worked with me during the past two years on creating sound for the piece, and movement coach/longtime collaborator Kristina Fluty."Blackbird's Ventriloquy



NATYA DANCE THEATRE presents Mallika Sarabhai's Out of Bounds  + Finding My Voice, a double bill (5 PM, September 25th, Oswego East High School, 1525 Harvey Road, Oswego). The lyrics for Bharata Natyam were written many hundred years ago, when humanity’s primary concern was the longing to find God or be united with the eternal One. The lyrics were primarily in Tamil and Telugu with later dancers bringing in the voices of Kabir, Meera and other medieval poets. Today some of us wish to speak of other, more current issues and thoughts, still using the sophistry of the dance style of Bharata Natyam. Finding My Voice brings to audiences thoughts on global warming, live in relationships, an atheists relationship with the Goddess, sexual preferences and the growing intolerance in the world, all in the strictest and most complex Pandanallur Bharata Natyam vocabulary. In Out of Bounds, Revanta Sarabhai and Pooja Purohit pose the question: what happens when you dissect Bharata Natyam to its core? The two dancers look for a new narrative, while their bodies still carry traces of the past. We see, in three chapters, a man and a woman transform the pure form of their dance to a story about relationships. Choreography is by Mallika and Revanta Sarabhai.Natya Dance Theatre


SHEN WEI DANCE ARTS (7:30 PM, September 23rd; 2 PM, September 24th, AUDITORIUM THEATRE) makes its Chicago debut with two masterpieces by MacArthur “Genius” Award-winning choreographer and visual artist Shen Wei, known for his awe-inspiring choreography for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Folding conjures up a dreamlike world at once ancient and timeless. Rite of Spring, set to Stravinsky’s famed score, brings the fresh eye of the outsider to this well-known music. Shen jettisons all narrative, responding instead with a highly charged abstraction.Shen Wei in Rite of Spring


DANCE WORKS CHICAGO is excited to partner with the Lou Conte Dance Studio on DanceChance (7 PM, September 29th, 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. Inspired by the concept of open-mic night, DanceChance is held once a month and features 3 choreographers chosen by chance, each of whom has a 15-minute time slot to share their work. To round out the hour, the final 15-minute segment is a moderated meet-the-artist session providing an opportunity for choreographers to discuss their work and process as well as time for the audience to ask questions. At the end of each DanceChance, the next trio of participants is chosen from names submitted by choreographers in attendance. DanceWorks Chicago is inspired to continue to experiment with this program to encourage creativity and a sense of adventure on the part of artists and audience and to bring communities together to learn more about each other. From a DanceChance choreographer: “It feels more human to me when the line between those on the outside and those on the inside is blurred, as opposed to a harsh divide between the spectators and the participants. In this case, the audience is as much of a participant as the performers, and that creates an engaging environment where both parties can take something away from the experience.”


Mark you calendars for OCTOBER/NOVEMBER:

Ensemble Espanol performs October 6th at the Auditorium Theatre. The Dance Center of Columbia College brings Reggie Wilson October 12-14 and Coco Dance Theatre November 2-4. The Joffrey Ballet stages “Giselle” at the Auditorium Theatre October 18-29. Giordano Dance Chicago presents its fall season October 27-28 at the Harris Theater. 

For details and tickets, go to, and click on “Upcoming Events.”