October Moves Chicago Dance Into High Gear

The fall dance season moves into high gear with October’s exciting line-up. Links Hall is popping with the return of its founding innovators, along with a slew of outside-the-boxers pushing performance boundaries, and plenty of new talent to celebrate its fortieth anniversary as Chicago’s bastion of high risk dance. Cerqua Rivera launches three weekends of new and retrospective works at three different venues, and Chicago Dancemakers Forum presents its annual “Elevate Chicago Dance” marathon day of dance at the Cultural Center. The Joffrey Ballet reprises its stunning revisionist “Swan Lake” with Christopher Wheeldon’s twist of storytelling magic, and Giordano Dance Chicago premieres a breathtaking new work by Ray Leeper. 



BOB EISEN As part of Links Hall's 40th anniversary season, Links Hall co-founder Bob Eisen returns to present “ONE OFF, OFF ONE, AGAIN-BOB EISEN PLUS GUESTS,” an evening of new work with collaborators who have also performed at Links over the years (7:30 PM, October 3, Links Hall). Here's what's in store: a new duet with Bob Eisen ('70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s) and Joanne Barrett ('90s), plus a new work Bob is setting on the dancers of the Same Planet Performance Project ('00s, '10s), along with new works by Paige Caldarella ('10s), Beau O’Reilly ('80s,'90s, '00s, '10s), and special guests: from Minneapolis, Laurie Van Wieren ('90s), and Chicago's own Don Meckley ('80s,'90s)! 




Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre CERQUA RIVERA DANCE THEATER presents “My Past/Our Present” (October 5, 8 PM, Studio 5, 1934-38 Dempster, Evanston; October 19-20, 7 PM, Links Hall; October 27, 7:30 PM, Reva and David Logan Center, 915 E. 60th Street), featuring ten contemporary dancers and nine jazz musicians, live on stage, exploring themes of identity, immigration, dislocation and assimilation. This performance will include four new works as well as selections from the company's repertoire. The new works will include: 

  • "American Catracho" -- exploring what it is like for immigrants to settle into a new homeland
  • "Sin Fronteras" --celebrating diversity, set to music by Grammy nominee Clarice Assad that melds music from Latin and Central America with American jazz.
  • "The Process Takes a Lifetime" -- Set to music by CYSO jazz director Pharez Whitted, explores the impact of the people and environment around us have on who we become.
  • "Root: mwanzo wa mwili ni roho,” Choreographed by Joe Cerqua and 3Arts award-winning choreographer Monique Haley,  explores the modern African American experience through traditional African modes.

*Teen Arts Pass Eligible (October 27 Performance only)


Deeply Rooted Dance Theater at "Elevate Chicago Dance" ELEVATE CHICAGO DANCE 2018 (October 21, beginning at 10 AM, Chicago Cultural Center) is a day of performances plus installations, workshops and discussions by 45 Chicago dancemakers.  Sponsored by Chicago Dancemakers Forum , the broadly defined theme of the day explores intersections between Dance, Space, Race, and Place. The projects will activate all the floors and multiple public areas of the landmark Chicago Cultural Center, including the Claudia Cassidy Theater, GAR Hall, the Dance Studio, and Preston Bradley Hall.


Elevate Chicago Dance 2018 is presented in partnership with the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) with additional support from the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation and many generous individuals.


THE JOFFREY BALLET opens its 2018-2019 season with Christopher Wheeldon’s blockbuster Swan Lake (October 17-28, Auditorium Theatre). Art intertwines with life in this modern re-telling of one of the most famous ballets of all time. Set in the studios of the Paris Opera Ballet, a company dancer falls in love with his beautiful partner, a star ballerina who is being pursued by an arts patron with bad intentions. A ballet-within-a-ballet, Wheeldon's version combines classical elements with a touch of fantasy, as lavish sets and breathtaking choreography take hold in this timeless story danced to Tchaikovsky's mesmerizing score performed live by the Chicago Philharmonic. *Teen Arts Pass Eligible


Giordano Dance Chicago in "Divided Against" GIORDANO DANCE CHICAGO’s FALL ENGAGEMENT debuts a new, full-company work by award-winning choreographer Ray Leeper (“So You Think You Can Dance;” “America’s Got Talent”) as part of their 2018-2019 “Live in the Momentum” Season. (October 26-27, 7:30 PM, The Harris Theater at Millennium Park.)


Leeper has established himself as one of the most respected artists in the dance industry. His choreography credits include music videos and live performances for well-known recording artists including Cher, Elton John, IL Divo, Nick Cannon, Snoop Dogg, and others; popular TV shows including “So You Think You Can Dance,” “X-Factor UK,” “America’s Got Talent” and “The Big Bang Theory;” commercials for Gagaville (Lady Gaga/Farmville), Pepsi, Sierra Mist, Comcast, Crystal Light, Levis and Northwest Airlines, as well as concert tours, and so much more. Honors and awards include "Best Choreography Award" for his work on "Common Grounds" in the New York Musical Theater Festival and the prestigious Gold Leo Award for Excellence in Choreography presented at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

The program also includes the following works from the GDC repertoire:

  • “Divided Against” (2016). Peter Chu explores the divergent forces within us in this full company work set to original music by Jean-François (Djeff) Houle.
  • “Punk You Very Much” (2004). GDC made its Harris debut with this clever work created for a quintet of dancers by Chicago’s Michael Rioux.
  • “JOLT” (2012). This fun, “out of the box” full-company work is infused with rhythm and interplay and features choreography by former GDC assistant artistic director Autumn Eckman, concept and structure by GDC Artistic Director Nan Giordano and an original score by Evan Bivins.
  • “Sidecar” (2004) Former Hubbard Street Dance Chicago company member Mark Swanhart created this quirky and whimsical work for 10 dancers.
  • “Loose Canon” (2006). Jon Lehrer sets this theatrical, humorous and athletic work on five dancers.




Aloft Circus Arts In "Brave Space" ALOFT CIRCUS ARTS’ “BRAVE SPACE” (October 6, 7:30 PM, First Congregational Church Of Flight, 3324 W. Wrightwood) is the building of a blanket fort, the act of sneaking under a hoopskirt, an impulsive congregation in the tiniest of tents. Intimate and low tech, this hour-long work of contemporary circus invites the audience to sit nose-to-nose with bold aerialists and acrobats to build the world we want to live in, even for only a few shared moments. An antidote to the daily news cycle, this hypermobile show can pop up in fields, intersections, theaters, and warehouses -- wherever people need beauty, hope, and comfort. This October it’s popping up in an 108-year-old church.


Conceived of and directed by Aloft artistic director Shayna Swanson, “Brave Space” is designed not as a “safe space,” but as a space that will bring audiences up close and personal with their humanity and their fears, to encourage them to better care for themselves and for those around them. This is the first show Swanson has directed in six years, and five of the seven performers are recent graduates of Aloft’s full-time professional training program. “I realized in order to make the shows I wanted to make, I needed to first train up a new generation of artists,” she says. In those six years Aloft’s school and company has itself has grown to fully inhabit a new studio home in a renovated church in Logan Square, Inspired by the idea of creating community in trying times, "Brave Space” starts as a puddle of fabric on the floor, and grows to encompass a world of wonders that includes juggling, cyr wheel, and duo trapeze, a rope act like no other, and awe-inspiring feats of balance and strength. The audience is limited to 100 people per show, and audience members must be able to sit on the floor, stand up, walk around for the duration of the performance. Audience members requesting assistance, or a chair to sit in, should note so when purchasing tickets. In addition, Brave Space may make persons suffering from claustrophobia feel uncomfortable at times.


Mandala South Asian Performing Arts MANDALA SOUTH ASIAN PERFORMING ARTS presents “MASKS AND MYTHS: Devils and Dancers from Sri Lanka” (7:30 PM, OCTOBER 6-7, REVA AND DAVID LOGAN CENTER FOR THE ARTS). In 1893, Chicago hosted the World's Columbian Exposition, marking a pivotal moment in American and Western history. Numerous pavilions built to represent various African and Asian nations included Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was then known. Exposition organizers often chose to present the arts and culture of these colonial conquests as a spectacle with no artistic context or input.

Now, 125 years later, Sri Lankan dancers and musicians, along with guest artists, present an honest and authentic rendition of their artistry and other cultures presented at the Columbian Exposition including Balinese Gamelan, Japanese classical dance, and African drumming. Masks and Myths takes cultural exchange full-circle, reviewing colonialisms effects on artistry and new choreography bridging traditional Sri Lankan dance and contemporary influences. *Teen Arts Pass Eligible


THE J e l l o PERFORMANCE SERIES (October 10, 7:30 PM, Links Hall) provides a performance space for artists to experiment, create, risk and try. Making work takes a lot of time, space and money. This is an opportunity to show past work, new work, or work-in-progress in front of an audience with lighting and production. J e l l o strives for full artist visibility and inclusivity. Tuli Bera (Artistic and Executive Director) and Carla Gruby (Artistic Coordinator) provide a safe environment and welcoming performance space as well as FREE videographic and photographic footage for J e l l o artists!Ephrat Asherie Dance


EPHRAT ASHERIE DANCE makes its Dance Center debut with Odeon, a high-octane new work set to the music of Brazilian composer Ernesto Nazareth (October 11-13, 7:30 PM, The Dance Center Of Columbia College). “Bona fide b-girl” (The Boston Globe) and Bessie Award-winning Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie layers breaking, hip-hop, house, and vogue with Nazareth’s exhilarating fusion of Afro-Brazilian rhythms and European classical traditions. *Teen Arts Pass Eligible


In “The End is Here and that’s ok,” it’s 2018, Doomsday strikes and the cast of Kelly Anderson Dance Theatre are the chosen ones (October 12-14, 7 PM, Links Hall). Swept into the theater through the chaos of Armageddon, Dolly Parton’s Personal Assistant presents the cast with giant Post-its, a handful of Sharpies and the difficult task of examining “what worked” and “what didn’t” before the Earth reached its demise. In order to collectively agree on a successful new world order, they reflect upon their pre-apocalyptic heroes to inspire the value system needed in order to move forward on their Enterprise. THE END IS HERE and that’s ok. is an original evening-length dance theater production by Kelly Anderson Dance Theatre, presented by Links Hall for their 40th Anniversary Season.


BODY PASSAGES SERIES Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble and Chicago Poetry Center proudly present “THE BODY PASSAGES SERIES” (October 12-13, 8 PM, Ebenezer Lutheran Church), an incubative performance series and artistic residency program for dancers and poets. Co-curators, Sara Maslanka (Artistic Director of CDE) and Natasha Mijares (Reading Series and Events Coordinator) pair selected poets and dancers to collaborate and develop their own artist-led project centered around the theme of activation over the course of ten months. This years selected Body Passages artists welcomes five collaborative groups, with a total of 11 artists. The 2018 Body Passages artists vary in age, experience, race, gender and sexual identity, and belief systems. Each performance will feature an interactive post-show gallery which welcomes audience members to join the dialogue around activation and engage personally with the artists.


BUILT BUILT (October 17, 7:30 PM, Links Hall) is an evening length production that examines gender as a social construct, and how society has built ideals for how gender should be expressed as a specific sex. BUILT explores what defines femininity and masculinity, the pressures placed on gender expressions, and the repercussions of gender constructs.  Dancemakers: Julie Ferrell, James Moreno, Amanda Ramirez, Stephanie Rankin.


Tere O'Connor Dance Living legend TERE O’CONNOR returns to the Dance Center with his new evening-length work, Long Run (October 18-20, 7:30 PM, The Dance Center Of Columbia College). Hailed as a “choreographer’s choreographer” (Chicago Tribune), O’Connor transforms space through visual drama and elaborate structure. Long Run pits the rigid geometry of the stage against the organic bodies crossing over it in a kinetic exploration. Physical extremes and relentless movement form what one critic called a “cascade of dance” that pulls the audience into the struggle to find a state of calm in an unpredictable and chaotic universe. *Teen Arts Pass Eligible


8 "THE SPACE BETWEEN" BALLET 5:8 (October 20-21, 7:30 PM, Athenaeum Theatre) invites you to experience a riveting evening of dance featuring two one-act ballets. Julianna Rubio Slager’s world premiere “The Space in Between” is set on a bus ride between heaven and hell, a story inspired by C. S. Lewis’ novel The Great Divorce. Slager’s “The Four Season of the Soul,” a Ballet 5:8 audience favorite, is set to Vivaldi’s dramatic score and reflects on the seasons of life juxtaposed with the seasons of nature.


“FLAMENCO PASSION” (October 21, 6 PM, McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage) Direct from Cadiz, Spain, COMPANIA FLAMENCA EDUARDO GUERRERO combines flamenco with classical and contemporary Spanish dance, ballet and contortion to express the depth of passion and skill exhibited in this beloved, Spanish art form. This group of live musicians and elite dancers, including Eduardo Guerrero, recently named by Dance Magazine as one of 2018’s “25 Dancers to Watch,” captivates audiences through this temperamental and passionate dance.


Co-MISSIONS WIP Co-MISSIONS WIP: Aaliyah Christina, Erin Kilmurray,Talia Koylas, Lizzie Leopold (October 24, 7:30 PM, Links Hall) The October WIP Showing hosts all four Co-MISSION Residency artists who's final projects will be featured in the Co-MISSION Festival of New Works December 6-9.

Through our Co-MISSION program Links Hall offers Intensives, Residencies, and Fellowships that support 14-16 artistic projects annually. These programs incorporate a flexible range of resources, designed to meet the needs of artistic experimentation at different points in an artist's career, and different points in a project's development. This works-in-progress series features artists from all three programs on shared bills.


WORMHOLE WORMHOLE  (October 26, 7 PM, Links Hall) is a shared evening of works presenting three magical femmes of color examining and adjusting reality by merqing the realms of dream, persona, and umbilical pathways to symbolic transformation. Performed by Angela Gronroos, Moonbones (a.k.a. Margaret Morris), Hannah Santistevan.


ESOTERIC DANCE PROJECT and PROJECT BOUND’S “Separate Thoughts, Shared Spaces” (October 26-27, 8 PM; October 28, 6 PM, The Edge Theater, 5451 N. BROADWAY) artistically joins the collaborative efforts of Co-Artistic Directors Ashley Deran and Emily Loar with Project Bound Dance and Brenna Pierson-Tucker and Christopher Tucker of Esoteric Dance Project. This weekend-long performance series presents world-premieres alongside renewed works from company repertoire, interspersed with dance and media. Esoteric Dance Project examines relationships between intimate and professional partners, while also exploring interactions between projection, locomotion and the comical nature that can emerge.  Project Bound Dance seeks to resolve the often tense relationship between personal responsibility, media, and its persistent calls for action. This evening will also feature a showing of Project Bound Dance’s The One Hour Project, a series of one minute dance films created by Chicago choreographers and video artists.



For detils and tickets, go to SeeChicagoDance.com and click on "See Dance."