March has diabolically conspired to taunt Chicago Dance audiences with a choice they simply cannot make! Two of our city’s most dazzling companies—Giordano Dance Chicago and Hubbard Street—perform at the same time on the same dates a mere grand jeté down Michigan Avenue from each other, March 23rd and 24th. What to do when faced with such a dilemma? Follow baseball’s wisdom, of course, and in the famous words of Yogi Berra, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!” In other words, DON’T CHOOSE! Do whatever it takes and SEE THEM BOTH! Treat yourself to a weekend dance bonanza, with world premieres from both companies—an all-Cerrudo Hubbard Street program at the Auditorium Theatre, and Giordano’s eclectic mix of state of the art jazz dance at the Harris.
Unlike a baseball double-header, each program promises a unique night of extraordinary choreography and dancing. The two companies, both of whose beginnings harken back to early jazz and Broadway styles, have evolved distinctly different, highly sophisticated concert dance signatures. What the two companies have in common are a consistent track record of knocking the ball out of the park, with choreography that delights, inspires, and touches the heart, performed by world-class dance artists.
For Giordano, the jazz dance forms have expanded the very definition of jazz dance, certainly influenced by modern dance, and fused with a refined command of classical ballet technique. GDC celebrates its 55th season, and Artistic Director Nan Giordano’s 25 years at the helm, with two world premieres: “Hiding Vera,” by former Joffrey dancer Davis Robertson, and an as yet unnamed work for all eight GDC men by former GDC dancer, Joshua Blake Carter. The piece takes a contemporary jazz dance look at the era that spawned the original Giordano Dance Company in 1963. The program opens with Brock Clawson’s “Give and Take” (2009), and includes an excerpt from Roni Koresh’s “Crossing Lines” (2015), and Ray Mercer’s “Tossed Around” (2017). Former Alvin Ailey dancer Christopher Huggins’ explosive “Pyrokinesis” (2007) closes the program. “Our dancers just continue to get better and better,” says company Executive Director Michael McStraw. “It’s that thing that we possess in our pores that makes for a magical evening.” (7:30 PM, Friday and Saturday, March 23-24, The Harris Theater for Music and Dance)
Hubbard Street’s hallmark as exceptionally versatile, brilliant interpreters of some of the world’s leading choreographers leans decisively toward contemporary dance. Chameleons to the core, they embody the styles of vastly different choreographers with seemingly liquid ease, from the balletic demands of Twyla Tharp and Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, to the gymnastics of William Forsyth, the lyricism of Nacho Duato and the emotional intensity of Crystal Pite and Jirí Kylián. They even triumph in cross-over work the blends dancing and acting, as in their wildly successful collaboration with Second City.
Hubbard Street’s “Season 40” marks the company’s return to The Auditorium Theatre, after a twenty-year absence, with a program devoted entirely to the work of their beloved resident choreographer, Alejandro Cerrudo. Joining the company as a dancer in 2005 and named resident choreographer in 2009, Cerrudo has created a new work for these concerts, provisionally titled “Out of Your Mind,” that takes advantage of the Auditorium stage’s unusual depth. “There will be some surprises,” he said of the new piece in a recent interview with seechicagodance. To date, all of Cerrudo’s work for Hubbard Street has been performed at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. Staging his new piece for the Auditorium stage, he is mindful of its classic, grandiose style. “I love the Harris Theater,” he said, “but you can do different things with the lighting on the Auditorium stage.” A constant in his work is to use the lighting “so you never see the end of the stage—no walls, infinite darkness. That’s even easier at the Auditorium.”
With each new piece, Cerrudo tries to work in a different way. “Silent Ghost,” created on the Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet in 2015 with Indy-rock and motion picture music by Dustin Hamman, King Creosote & John Hopkins, Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm, will be performed by Hubbard Street for the first time at these concerts.
“The program is an overview of my career at Hubbard Street,” he said. “Lickety Split” was his very first piece for HSD, originally a duet performed in 2006 as part of the company’s “Inside/Out” Choreographic Workshop. Then company director Jim Vincent was so taken with the duet, he urged Cerrudo to develop it into a bigger piece. “I was lucky that my first work was so successful. It reaches a broad spectrum of audiences because of its music—not electronic, not classical. There is humor. It has a lightness to it.” In 2008, he began creating “Off Screen” initially as an investigation of film music. It became a “roller coaster of suspense and romance, with a little humor.” Reflecting on the critical success of “Off Screen,” Cerrudo said, “That exposure gave me a great jump start in my career.” He hopes that audiences will feel excited and inspired by the four very different works on the program, which he says will appeal to audience of all ages, “from ten to one hundred!” What would he like people to come away with? “I want them to say, ‘I can’t wait for the next thing Alejandro presents!’” As far as interpreting his work, he cautions, “There is nothing to understand—you have to feel…Take that emotion and feel free to react as you happen to!” (7:30 PM, Friday and Saturday, March 23rd and 24th, The Auditorium Theatre)
ADDITIONAL MARCH EVENTS:
TETHER (March 1-3, 8 PM, The Pentagon Theater at Collaboration Studios in The Flat Iron Arts Building) is the premier, evening-length work by independent artist Stefany Cotton. Inspired by the book "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein, TETHER is a captivating, nonstop narrative about community, perseverance, and resiliency. Come savor this reimagined story of dependency and strength communicated through Cotton's athletic and intricate choreography.
Danceworks 2018: @ Hi-Speed presents three Chicago choreographers in premieres of new works (March 2nd-11th, Josephine Lewis Theatre, Northwestern University). This year's guest choreographers include Carrie Hanson, founding artistic director of the critically-acclaimed dance company The Seldoms; Nejla Yatkin, one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch;" and Vershawn Sanders-Ward, founder and executive artistic director of Red Clay Dance Company. Artistic Direction is by Joel Valentín-Martínez.
The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago presents CLOUD GATE DANCE THEATRE OF TAIWAN IN FORMOSA (Friday and Saturday, March 2nd and 3rd, 7:30 PM, Harris Theater). In the 16th century, gazing out from the decks of ships off the coast of China, Portuguese sailors saw it: a great green mass, thick with mountains and trees, rising from the sea. “Formosa!" they exclaimed, “beautiful!" anointing the verdant place that would come to be known as Taiwan. In this new work, choreographer Lin Hwai-min and his Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan take that appraisal as inspiration for their own work of abstract beauty born from land and lore. Recorded music by award-winning indigenous singer Sangpuy serves as the soundtrack as the dancers mingle in intimations of community, making tribal ritual and urban bustle seem as one. Using gesture, script, song, and other elements from the island as raw material, Lin and dancers create a lustrous, transfigured sphere—a playground of love and life, mediated by tragedy, hope, and rebirth.
MOVEMENT REVOLUTION DANCE CREW presents: Opposites Attract 2018 (Saturday, March 3rd, 2 PM, Links Hall). Opposites Attract returns for its 2nd year. Come witness this love story, tragedy, story of hope, epic adventure, and this visual novel told through MOVEMENT! Featuring hip-hop, break dance, ballet, jazz, contemporary, latin, and more, choreographed and performed by Movement Revolution Dance Crew.
The Joffrey Academy of Dance presents the 8th annual WINNING WORKS (Saturday, March 3rd, 2 PM and 7:30 PM, and Sunday, March 4th, 2 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art) the culminating performance following a national call for ALAANA (African, Latino(a), Asian, Arab, and Native American) artists to submit choreographic applications. This year’s winners are Telmo Moreira, Omar Román De Jesús, Claudia Schreier and Luis Vazquez. The winning choreographers will showcase their world premiere works on the members of the Joffrey Studio Company and the Joffrey Academy Trainee Program. Don’t miss this unique program featuring choreographers on the rise and the exceptional talent of our Academy dancers.
LES BALLETS DE MONTE CARLO, the premier dance company of Monaco that is known for its elegant, classical style, comes to the Auditorium Theatre with LA BELLE (The Sleeping Beauty) (7:30 PM, Saturday, March 3rd, and 2 PM, Sunday, March 4th), a dazzling and visually-stunning version of Marius Petipa’s classic story ballet. Artistic Director and award-winning choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot has created an enthralling, fantastical adaptation of the original fairy tale, set to music by Tchaikovsky, in a production lauded as “absolutely sublime” by Dance Magazine.
ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER returns to the Auditorium Theatre (March 7th-11th, Auditorium Theatre), the company’s Chicago home for nearly half a century, with six breathtaking performances. This year’s annual engagement features three different programs of relevant, inspiring new works, including the Chicago premiere of company member Jamar Roberts’ Members Don’t Get Weary, called “striking” and “virtuosic” by the New York Times, and Spanish choreographer Gustavo Ramírez Sansano’s Victoria, a tribute to the triumph of good over evil. The company also brings new productions of Twyla Tharp’s The Golden Section and Chicago-born choreographer Talley Beatty’s Stack-Up to Chicago. Each performance ends with Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece Revelations, a “modern classic” (The Washington Post) that has been seen by more people than any other contemporary dance work.
INTO THE FOREST (7 PM, March 9-11, Links Hall), delves into our relationship to the magic, strength and fragility of the natural world. Experience the magic of seeing different generations dancing together! PERCEPTUAL MOTION, INC. dancers are aged 23 to 83, joined by 2 children and 3 guest dancers. See three premieres choreographed by Artistic Director Lin Shook; original music by Fred Simon, new works by guest choreographers Peggy Lamb and Harvard Vallance, and works from the repertory. An audience talk back concludes the performance.
CHICAGO DANZTHEATRE ENSEMBLE’S “WOMEN IN RESPONSE” (8 PM, March 9-17, Ebenezer Lutheran Church) is an evening of performances dedicated to the female’s voice featuring multidisciplinary works that fuse dance, theatre, visual art, and multimedia by female artists. CDE is committed to empowering and uplifting women to use their voices and share their experiences. In conjunction with the performances, audiences can enjoy a pre-show gallery experience by local female artists and activists.
CHICAGO TAP THEATRE presents SWEET TAP CHICAGO (3 PM and 7 PM, Sunday, March 11th, City Winery). Artistic Director Mark Yonally sees “Sweet Tap Chicago” as a special one-of-a-kind dance concert that brings the company full-circle. "I grew up tap dancing in the jazz clubs of Kansas City, KS,” he says, “and the connection between live music and tap dance has always been the root of my love affair with tap. When I started CTT, part of the mission was to take tap out of the jazz club and put it on the concert stage and in that process embrace tap as a theatrical art form. After 14 seasons, we continue to push the boundaries of tap and its capabilities to tell stories, explore emotions and deal with concepts and ideas not typically associated with percussive dance.”
DanceWorks Chicago’s DanceBytes blends a dynamic dance presentation with informative behind-the-scenes insights. Connect with dance and dancers through an intimate look into the artistic journey. The creation of new work as well as the dances themselves are vehicles for DWC dancers and audiences to investigate a wide range of dance techniques, movement styles, and artistic approaches.
SAME PLANET PERFORMANCE PROJECT’s new work, Lie Through My Skin (7 PM, March 16th-18th, 23rd and 25th; 2 PM, March 24th; Dovetail Studios), exposes the roots of shame from ancient texts and cultural lore and traces it’s influence on our personal narratives. Four dancers place themselves in the roles of the shamed and shamer. Confronted with pride and powerlessness their movement reveals both the oppressive and empowering truth we share negotiating shame. Lie Through My Skin probes shame’s crafty undermining of potential, privilege, and power.
SHARE Layla & Majnun/MARK MORRIS DANCE GROUP & THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE (7:30 PM, March 16th; 2 PM and 7:30 PM, March 17th; Harris Theater) is evening-length work just over an hour in length, featuring mugham singers Alim Qasimov —considered a “Living National Treasure” of Azerbaijan — and Fargana Qasimova and musicians of the Silk Road Ensemble on traditional Asian instruments (kamancheh, tar, shakuhachi, and pipa) combined with Western strings (two violins, viola, cello, and contrabass) and a percussionist on stage with 16 dancers of the Mark Morris Dance Group. This production will not only introduce a beloved cornerstone of Middle Eastern folklore to a wide audience in the U.S. and abroad, but has the potential to engage new audiences drawn by the subject matter. The home territory of Layla and Majnun is located along the ancient Silk Route from India, Central Asia, and the Middle East to the eastern edge of Europe. This area, of current geopolitical focus and concern, is also the natal home of many immigrant communities in the U.S.—South Asians, Iranians, Arabs, and Azerbaijanis, among others—that are not typically represented among modern arts audiences. Though the story of Layla and Majnun has been reinterpreted in countless poems, paintings, plays, songs, musical compositions, television dramas, and films, an adaptation of this scale has never been presented in the West.
The Space Movement Project presents APRIL SELLERS DANCE COLLECTIVE INFORMAL SHOWING AND TOURING INFORMATION SESSION (5 PM, Sunday, March 18th, VOLTA Performing Arts). Formed by April Sellers in 2000, the April Sellers Dance Collective (ASDC) is nationally recognized for their gender-bending, feminist-infused performances. Led by Sellers’ choreography and fueled by community participation, the ASDC’s work has long explored sexual identity (Jousting, 2014 and In Her Place, 2000), queer feminism (Big Baby, 2014 and Double Drag, 2015), and the vulnerability of the body (The V Project, 2007). ASDC celebrates complex expressions of gender and identity in their highly-crafted performances.
DESUEÑO DANCE presents an open rehearsal, Get to know Desueño Vision (Tuesday, March 20th, 8:30 PM, Dovetail Studios). The open rehearsal provides an opportunity to look at the rehearsal process of Desueño Vision, and to experience the company rehearsing repertoire pieces and learning new choreography. As with all Desueño events, there will be an opportunity for crowd interaction, joining them in the warm-ups, observing the rehearsal, then taking part in a short Q & A.
Celebrating the renovation of the Ruth Page Center for the Arts and Founder Ruth Page's Birthday, HEDWIG DANCES, along with the six companies who are Artists-In-Residence at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, perform in a showcase of dances and staged performances. (7 PM, Thursday, March 22nd, Ruth Page Center for the Arts).
Join See Chicago Dance as we celebrate CHICAGO DANCE MONTH 2018 with our Open Studio Fridays at the Chicago Cultural Center Dance Studio (Open Studio Fridays, March 23–May 11, 4:30–6 PM, Chicago Cultural Center Dance Studio, 78 E. Washington Street). A variety of Chicago dance companies will offer performances and other activities every Friday during Chicago Dance Month! Participating artists include Chicago Dance Crash, Simantikos, Winifred Haun and Dancers, Duncan Dance Chicago, Concert Dance Inc, Project Bound Dance, Chicago Dantztheatre Ensemble and South Chicago Dance Theatre.
DANCEWORKS CHICAGO’S DanceFlight (7:30 PM, Saturday, March 24th, and 3 PM, Sunday, March 25th, Ruth Page Center for the Arts) is like a wine flight, a sampling of sorts, offering an assortment of dances to fill your one-hour dance card! Stay afterwards for an informal, post-performance meet the artist session hosted by the dancers.
Chicago Burlesque presents VAUDEZILLA! BURLESQUE SPECTACULAR (10:30 PM, Saturdays, March 24th and 31st, Stage 773), Chicago’s top rated burlesque show featuring a diverse cast of one-of-a-kind burlesque, drag, and aerial acts ranging from classic Vegas-style showgirls to cutting-edge, gender-non-conforming performance artists, and everything in between! Show theme changes monthly. Directed by Red Hot Annie.
WINIFRED HAUN AND DANCERS presents its annual Spring Open Rehearsal (4:30 PM, Sunday, March 25th, Lou Conte Studio), featuring new work of five Chicago area dancemakers. Hear from each artist about their dance-making process and get a chance to respond, comment and give feedback on the new works. Open Rehearsals are casual, friendly and a great way to learn about local dance artists. And there'll be free snacks! Participating Artists for 2018 include Solomon Bowser and Winifred Haun.
Join See Chicago Dance as we celebrate the kickoff to CHICAGO DANCE MONTH 2018! (4:30 PM, Tuesday, March 27, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street). All are welcome to an afternoon performance in Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center, followed by a VIP Reception to celebrate Chicago dance. Participating artists include:
• Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre
• Deeply Rooted Dance Theater
• Natya Dance Theater
• Project Bound Dance
• Visceral Studio Company
• Winifred Haun & Dancers.
MOLLY SHANAHAN/MAD SHAK’s “Of Whales, Time, and Your Last Attempt to Reach Me” (7:30 PM, March 29-31, the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago) is a new work featuring performances by Molly Shanahan, Kristina Fluty, Jeff Hancock, and Megan Klein, with Joshua Paul Weckesser in lighting collaboration. This event is part of a two-weekend Process vs. Product Festival, which features Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak’s work on the first weekend, and Bebe Miller Company the following.
REIDANCE GROUP presents the Chicago premiere of the full evening length version of “The Mysterious Disappearance Of The Second Youngest Sister” (7:30 PM, March 29th-30th, Hamlin Park Fieldhouse). 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. 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 DanceChance (7 PM, Friday, March 30th, Lou Conte 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 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.
Cattywampus Dance presents: Coddiwomple (8pm, Friday and Saturday, March 30th and 31st, Ruth Page Center for the Arts).
For Details and Tickets, go to seechicagodance.com and click on “Upcoming Events."