October brings new initiatives and partnerships at SCD, and great dance ahead

As the fall dance season kicks into high gear, we at See Chicago Dance are feeling a sense of renewal and planning for the year ahead. I’m enormously proud of our writing team, which has worked tirelessly, and for not enough pay, to visit as many performances as possible, in all corners of the city. We are committed to continuing this forward momentum as we strive for ways to be on the forefront of the evolving dance journalism field.

As an extension of this mission, we are piloting a new media platform to include video previews on the site. These exclusive interviews will be accompanied by a written piece from pre-professional and emerging dance writers, who will be mentored by team of Chicago’s veteran dance writers and educators. Our goal is to develop a diverse wellspring of young dance journalists and invigorate the field. Look for the first of these to come from our team this month, and please let us know what you think!

Finally, I’m delighted to announce a new collegial partnership with Thinking Dance. We at See Chicago Dance have long admired this platform for dance writing in Philadelphia, which has become a vital source of dance journalism for that city. Our intent is to periodically share TD content in our monthly SCD e-blasts, so that the conversations about dance within our network extend beyond the borders of our city. See Chicago Dance’s mission is centered on audience engagement. We want our readers to be able to engage with our content, of course, but also to have access to a wealth of information from a variety of viewpoints. Our goal with this initiative is to provide you with a curated look at events of national interest reported in Thinking Dance, in addition to sharp think pieces by TD writers. We are thrilled to become a part of the Thinking Dance network, and are excited to see how our partnership grows in the future.

And now, a few editor’s picks for October:

Oct. 4 begins the new “Made in Chicago” dance series at the Auditorium Theatre, with a double bill celebrating Hispanic Heritage month. Together, both companies on the program—Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater and Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre—offer a rangy view of contemporary issues in Latino and Hispanic culture. But there’s plenty of traditional dance, too, with the Ensemble’s greatest hits including founder Dame Libby Komaiko’s boiterous “Ecos de Espana,” and two pieces featuring the three fierce women: “Deshojando Flores” is a Zapateado inspired by the running of the bulls for Crystal Ruiz and Olivia Serrano, while “Una Obra De Arte” welcomes back first dancer Claudia Pizarro surrounded by the company’s men in the masculine Flamenco Farrucca.

The Harris Theater opens its 2019/20 season Oct. 5 and 6 with “A Celebration of Lar Lubovitch,” a toast to the choreographer’s fifty years of artistic output. Among the performers are the Joffrey Ballet performing an excerpt from “Othello” (2013), the Martha Graham Dance Company in “Legend of Ten” (2010) and three Hubbard Street affiliates: dancers Andrew Murdock, Craig Black, and Hubbard Street rehearsal director and teaching artist Jonathan Alsberry. The latter, also a member of Lubovitch’s New York-based company, joins Murdock and Black for “Little Rhapsodies,” (2007) while Ballet Austin offers “Dvorak Serenade” (2007). In addition to toasting the native Chicagoan’s career, the event serves as a proper adieu to the Chicago Dancing Festival, which Lubovitch founded in 2007 with Jay Franke and David Herro. The festival, which was a free gateway to world class ballet and contemporary dance companies from across the country, shut its doors abruptly after a decade, leaving a huge gap in the dance calendar. As one of the lead venues hosting Dancing Festival performances, the Harris Theater welcomes Lubovitch home with a program made very much in the vein of the much-loved, and missed, summer fest.

For the Joffrey Ballet’s season opener, the company adopts Cathy Marston’s latest full-length ballet, “Jane Eyre,” running Oct. 16-27 at the Auditorium Theatre. The company’s penchant for leading literary ladies began last season with Yuri Possokhov’s original ballet “Anna Karenina,” which proved that a complex and beloved novel can, indeed, be distilled to a ballet without losing all its verve. Still, it remains to be seen if “Jane Eyre” will have the same broad appeal as “Anna” did—I’m guessing a refresh on the story is required reading for those planning to attend.

New parents Jonathan Meyer and Julia Rae Antonick, collectively known as Khecari, have remained busy, setting a duet on Amanda Maraist and Kara Brody called “Marginalia.” Premiering Oct. 24-26 at Links Hall, the work somewhat catalyzed Maraist and Brody’s ongoing collaboration which included “Burrow, Tousle,” shaped around the various connotations and ramifications of women’s work.

Last but not least, Giordano Dance Chicago debuts a new work by Peter Chu Oct. 25-26, alongside remounts of last season’s “Flickers” and a handful of works from the vault. Chu’s latest is danced to jazz music composed by phenoms from Juilliard’s music department, and looks at the rhythmic origins of jazz music and dance as derivatives of vernacular dance forms stemming from the Americas, Africa, and Asia. It’s all distilled into Chu’s signature ooey-gooey style, but he adds a bit of a punch, a nod, perhaps, to the sharp flair GDC’s known for.

Additional October performances are listed below: