October’s Dance Bag Filled With Treats


You won’t want to miss LYRIC OPERA andTHE JOFFREY BALLET’s stunning new production of Gluck’s ORPHÉE ET EURYDICE, directed, choreographed and designed by John Neumeier, and sung in French with projected English translation. (Civic Opera House,  continuing through October 15)  In a marriage made in heaven, the Joffrey and Lyric Opera combine to create a ballet opera that unites the two art forms in a seamless blend of sublime dance and music. One of opera’s most beautiful masterpieces, Gluck’s exquisite drama introduces us to Orpheus, in Neumeier’s version a choreographer whose wife, Eurydice, is to dance the lead in his new ballet, “The Isle of the Dead.” When she arrives late for rehearsal, the two have words, and she storms out, only to be struck by a car and killed in the street outside the rehearsal studio.  Orpheus, whose every word and note communicate the most overwhelming love for his Eurydice, refuses to accept her death and 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, for which Gluck composed extensive additional ballet music. Neumeier infuses dance into every fiber of the opera in Lyric’s first-ever collaboration with The Joffrey Ballet, one which is to continue as Joffrey becomes the resident ballet company of Lyric Opera, beginning officially in the fall of 2020. A footnote: Neumeier, longtime artistic director of the Hamburg Ballet,  has dedicated his production, co-produced by L.A. Opera and Staatsoper Hamburg, to Chicago dance pioneer Sybil Shearer, a formative influence on the Milwaukee native’s artistic development. (Click on “Reviews” for seechicagodance’s full coverage.)Orphée et Eurydice


Following their triumphant performances in Spain in 2016 and their fiery 40th anniversary finale at the Auditorium Theatre last fall, ENSEMBLE ESPAÑOL returns to the Auditorium to open the 2017-18 “Made in Chicago” Dance Series.  (October 6, Auditorium Theatre, 7:30 PM) The company’s new program brilliantly blends flamenco, classical, contemporary, and traditional forms of dance, and features the piece Defalla, Fuera de la Caja (Defalla, Out of the Box), Angel Rojas’ contemporary take on part of the classic ballet The Three-Cornered Hat (first performed at the Auditorium Theatre in the 1930s by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo), set to the music of La Vida Breve (The Brief Life) by Manuel de Falla. The program also includes audience favorites Iroko, choreographed by Rojas and Carlos Rodriguez (of the Nuevo Ballet Madrid), and Founder Dame Libby Komaiko’s 1983 piece Ecos de España, as well as Komaiko’s celebrated signature work Bolero. DAME LIBBY was just honored by the dance community with the Audience Architects Inaugural Legacy Award for her outstanding contribution to dance.

VISCERAL DANCE CHICAGO continues its fifth season with performances of its Fall Engagement program, (October 7, Harris Theatre, 7:30 PM). The company is at its sparkling best in Mark Godden's technically dynamic “Minor Threat,” Nick Pupillo's newest visual sensation “Synapse,” the Irish capriciousness of crowd favorite “Ruff Celts” by Marguerite Donlon, and Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Recipient Danielle Agami’s satirical world premiere, “Pick A Chair.”Visceral Dance Chicago

THE JOFFREY BALLET premieres  Lola de Ávila’s new production of “Giselle,” (October 18-29, Auditorium Theatre)  a sweeping tale of passion beyond the grave. His visionary Giselle elevates one of the greatest Romantic ballets to new heights. When a young peasant girl discovers her lover is betrothed to another, she dies of grief, only to be enlisted by the vengeful Wilis, a ghostly army of maidens who haunt the forests, dancing to death any male mortal who crosses their path.  When her beloved wanders into their grasp, Giselle carries out the ultimate act of love to free him from his fate. An ethereal descent into madness, desire, and sublime beauty will leave you breathless.Temur Suluashvili and Visctoria Jaiani in "Giselle"

GIORDANO DANCE CHICAGO (GDC), now celebrating its 55th year, debuts world premieres by award-winning choreographers Ray Mercer and Brock Clawson during its fall engagement at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance (October 27-28, 7:30 PM). Mercer’s new full company work, “Tossed Around” (working title) is based on a highly entertaining, Broadway-inspired concept and will be set to an original music composition by South African composer and performer Sbongiseni “Bongi” Duma. Clawson’s new work for GDC, “If I Could,” is an athletic psychological portrait of intimacy in a pas de deux frought with passion and play. Works from GDC's acclaimed repertoire complete the program and will include Nan Giordano's newly restaged classic, “Giordano Moves” (2005), “Grusin Suite” originally choreographed by Frank Chaves in 1993, and restaged on GDC in 2017, Liz Imperio's “La Belleza de Cuba” (2013), and Autumn Eckman's “G-Force” (2012).Giordano Dance Chicago's Maeghan McHale and Adam Houston




“At Alone / Together” brings the world premieres of CERQUA RIVERA’s 2017 New Works in full production, performed by its full Dance and Music Ensembles. Included on the program are: “Between Us” by Sherry Zunker, Joe Cerqua, & Stu Greenspan; “Vent” by Sherry Zunker and Stu Greenspan; “Sin Fronteras” by Wilfredo Rivera and Clarice Assad, commissioned by Chicago Sinfonietta; “American Catracho” by Wilfredo Rivera and Joe Cerqua; “Here Comes Treble" by Taylor Mitchell and Daniel Hesler; and “Waltzing Matilda” by Wilfredo Rivera and Joe Cerqua. (October 5-7 at Links HallTh & Fr 7 pm, Sat 3 & 7 pm;
October 13 at Studio5 Performing Arts Center, 7:30 pm; October 21 at Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 7 pm)Cerqua Rivera "At Alone/Together

“SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE,” (October 5th, The Chicago Theater, 7:30 PM) the 14-time Emmy® Award-winning show that sparked America’s fascination with dance, is set to captivate audiences again this fall – live on tour. Celebrating its momentous 14th season, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE’s Top 10 finalists will make their way across America with an opening night concert at The Chicago Theatre. The Season 14 tour lineup includes the following Top 10 finalists: Robert Green, Logan Hernandez, Lex Ishimoto, Koine Iwasaki, Dassy Lee, Kaylee Millis, KiKi Nyemchek, Taylor Sieve, Sydney Tormey and Mark Villaver. Also joining the Top 10 finalists are two of DANCE's Season 14 All-Stars, Jasmine Harper and Marko Germar. Since being on the show, Jasmine Harper has performed in The Boss, Beyonce: Lemonade, the 87th Annual Academy Awards, and alongside Taylor Swift, Usher, and Pit Bull. Marko Germar has gone on to perform in Grease Live!, Glee, Austin & Ally, Teen Beach Movie, the 89th Annual Academy Awards, and with Jennifer Lopez. 

Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s /peh-LOH-tah/ (October 5-8, Museum of Contemporary Art, 7:30 PM) is a "futbol-framed freedom suite" that actively intersects global economics, fandom culture across borders, and the politics of joy. The work was initially conceived during Joseph’s first trip to South Africa, when the nation was preparing for the 2010 World Cup. Along with spoken word poetry by Joseph, /peh-LO-tah/ features interdisciplinary performances by Amara Tabor-Smith and native Chicagoan Traci Tolmaire as well as original music by Tommy Soulati Shepherd with selected vocal arrangements by Yaw Agyeman of the Black Monks of Mississippi. Filmed imagery from Joseph’s travels to South Africa and Brazil and video projection designed by visual artist and long-time collaborator David Szlasa accompany dancers who perform the movements of soccer players fused with hip-hop and modern dance as well as folkloric dances of South Africa and Brazil. The distinct physiologies and expressiveness of the dancers’ bodies offer a powerful meditation on egalitarianism “choreographed to the rhythm of the beautiful game.”


MANDALA SOUTH ASIAN PERFORMING ARTS presents "Unwinding - Decodifying Bharatanatyam" (October 6, Studebaker Theater, 7 PM), a ground-breaking dance work that deconstructs the classical Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam. In 2016, Pranita received the prestigious "Lab Artist Award" from Chicago Dancemaker's Forum, recognizing her continuous efforts to challenge and reinvigorate her field. This award allows artists to explore and create new vocabulary within their medium.This work has been the result of Pranita's 30-year career in Bharatantyam education and presentation and investigates its origins and contexts. Applying modern concepts to the grounded, sculpturesque and rhythmic qualities of Bharatantyam, Pranita (Jain) Nayar finds triumphant playfulness and heart-warming self-discovery through her new movement. Set to field recordings of India's rural communities, Unwinding is charged with new expression, derived from the elements. “Unwinding” will feature company dancers from Mandala Arts, a Chicago-based non-profit performing arts organization. Join us for a dialogue lead by Pranita and Mandala Ensemble following the premiere of Unwinding.Mandala South Asian Performing Arts

NATYA DANCE THEATRE and Nrithyanjali School of Dance present Leela Samson's NADI (October 7,  Pfeiffer Hall at North Central College, Naperville,  4 PM). Co-presented by Natya Dance Theatre and Nrithyanjali School of Dance, Leela Samson's Spanda Dance Company brings NADI to the Chicago area. Spanda Dance is a group founded in 1995 that presents works conceived and choreographed by Leela Samson, explores group dynamics in Bharata Natyam. Spanda seeks to establish a relevant dialogue between dance, music and stage craft.
From Sufi fakirs in the North to Baul singers in Bengal to Sangam poetry and classical composers in the South, an ocean of poetry has been penned inspired by the river. NADI explores the love and longing, the physical changes and the deep philosophy that the river inspired through the centuries-old voices of India’s poets. NADI includes eclectic selection of poems in different languages and musical genres from the thumris of Varanasi, to Tagore’s melodies and the Baul renderings of Bengal, to Sangam poetry, the previous centuries Dikshitar, and to modern-day Girish Karnad of the South. These pieces are tied together by Rajkumar Bharathi, who has used some traditional tunes and has re-composed others to create dialogue between music genres and between languages of the vast nation of India. NADI is a common link with elements like the river teaching man the usefulness and beauty of nature and our link to it.Natya Dance Theatre


A Halloween themed show, “RAKS TERROR” (October 7, Arabesque Dance and Fitness, 8 PM),  is about pushing boundaries and telling stories through belly dance. This will be a showcase of Chicago (and elsewhere!) belly dance talent and artistry. The show features all styles of belly dance. All pieces are horror, ritual, dark, or campy themed, just in time for

Tapman Productions presents THE MODERN MARVELS DANCE COMPANY, returning to Hamlin Park for their second annual fall concert (October 12-13, Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater,  7:30 PM)  The performance features choreography by company members Hannah Bailey, Deirdre Dillon, Teresa Leahey, and Gloria Mwez; guest artists Patrick Justin and Anson Relick Lampe; and two premiere works by Artistic Director, Kate O'Hanlon.

REGGIE WILSON’S CITIZEN (October 12-14,  The Dance Center of Columbia College, 7:30 PM)  questions what it means to belong and what it means to not want to belong. The work is inspired by the histories of iconic African-Americans who faced contradictions and irony connected to individuality, anonymity, freedom, and dignity in relation to their civic duties. A provocative dialogue emerges through a series of five intricately woven solos, layered with haunting footage that suspends time and place. Wilson, whose postmodern work embodies elements of blues, folk, and African Diaspora cultures, works down to the marrow in CITIZEN, exposing isolation and the ways in which we make space for our communities and our countries, without sacrificing the authentic sense of self and the legacies of our diverse cultural identities.Reggie Wilson's CITIZEN

“PERFORMING HOME” presents a compelling evening of interdisciplinary performances that bring together choreographers and performance artists with scholars, lay historians, and housing activists to engage the complex spaces, meanings, and movement that construct what we call home. (October 13-15, Links Hall, 7 PM) Included on the program are: ”The Living Lakes” by Anita Gonzalez & Joel ValentIn-MartInez, a multi-disciplinary dance theatre project that explores African American and Latino migrations in the Midwest between 1915 and 1935;

“(re)location,” Paige Fraser’s first major choreographic work, reflecting upon the meaning of "home” within the context of the African Diaspora; "Working on Better Versions of Prayers (excerpt)” by J’Sun Howard deals with home: the displacement around ideas of the father; and Joshua Kent’s “CloisterSong,” exploring the veiled domestic of those who facilitate and support the interior lives of others, centralizing historically femme narratives of motherhood, nuns, and caregivers.

“ALL THAT JAZZ BENEFIT” ( October 13, Mayne Stage, 8-11 PM) is sponsored by The Gus Giordano Jazz Legacy Foundation, dedicated to preserving and continuing Gus Giordano’s legacy by enriching the lives of others through Jazz Dance. The Gus Giordano Jazz Legacy Foundation aims to create the same culture, uplifting spirit, and dedication to spreading the joy of Jazz that Gus gave to thousands.

ELEVATE CHICAGO  DANCE (October 19-21) is a citywide festival with public performances and studio showings at nine creative spaces around the city, featuring close to forty Chicago choreographers and dance companies: Oct. 19, Chicago Cultural Center, 1 PM and South Shore Cultural Center, 6:30 PM; and Defibrillator Gallery, 10 PM; October 20, Loyola Park Fieldhouse, 10 AM; Dance Center of Columbia College7:30 PM; and Links Hall, 10 PM; October 21, Dance Center of Columbia College, 7:30 PM.Elevate Chicago Dance


PROJECT BOUND DANCE returns to Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theatre (October 19-20, 7:30 PM) with its world premiere dance work, “Imprint.” In collaboration with vocal artist Jazelle Morriss, artistic directors Ashley Deran and Ericka Vaughn experiment with the idea of soul and soles while addressing the impact of social status and material worth. The performance will feature performances by Kathryn Hetrick, Rachel Molinaro, Emily Loar, Stephanie Toland, Alix Schillaci, Ericka Vaughn and guest artist and vocalist Jazelle Morriss.


PAUL TAYLOR 2 DANCE COMPANY (October 20, Northeastern Illinois University Auditorium, 7:30 PM) Paul Taylor established Taylor 2 in 1993 to ensure that his works could be seen by audiences all over the world, unhindered by economic or technical limitations. Mr. Taylor worked with longtime colleague Linda Hodes to create a company that could accommodate performance requests as well as teach and provide community outreach. Mr. Taylor looked back to the 1954 origins of the Paul Taylor Dance Company for the structure of his new company: six professionals with a particular gift for his style who perform his work throughout the world.Paul Taylor 2


DANZTHEATRE PLAYWRIGHT FESTIVAL (October 20-28, Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 8 PM) highlights multidisciplinary artists in the Chicagoland community. Nine selected playwrights present multidisciplinary works fusing dance, theatre and multimedia, from tales of horror, mental breaks and the struggle of immigrants to tales of folklore, love, desire and age. Presenting playwrights are Ricardo Diaz, Scott Dare with Michele Stine, Gwen Kelly-Masterson, Nelia Miller, Lani Montreal, Paul Pasulka, Timothy Rey, Emily Rich, and Aaron Woodstein. The Danztheatre Playwright Festival  is part of a month-long celebration and fundraising effort for Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble's 17th performance season, kicking off with CDE’s Tiki Luau (End of) Summer Soirée on October 14 from 7-11pm at CDE’s performance space (1650 W. Foster Ave, Chicago). Those who purchase a Soiree ticket with the code “playwright” will also receive a ticket to attend the festival.

“Illuminate” (October 28, Athenaeum Theater, 8 PM) brings NOMI DANCE COMPANY and CHICAGO REPERTORY BALLET  together for the first time ever with an invigorating collaborative performance featuring choreography by Nomi veteran dancers Amanda Hickey, Katie Carey, Stephanie Cihlar, and a world premiere by Wade Schaaf, Artistic Director of CRB, joining the two companies together for a spectacular grand finale! While three of Nomi’s powerful women take charge, Illuminate will showcase the virtuosic talents of this company continuing to delight the audience using skills that Nomi is well known for: a high regard for dynamic risk-taking, athleticism, and most of all, pure entertainment! Adding to this action-packed mix is Schaaf’s unique mix of classical and contemporary vocabulary creating an immersive visual environment with his group of highly trained alluring artists.Nomi Dance Company