Theater, Dance, Comedy and Performance in Chicago

Preview: Mess Hall: Installment Two/The Coincidentals

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concident

The Coincidentals’ performance series returns with a showcase of new works by emerging dance and movement artists. Artists are given rehearsal space to collaborate, develop work and provide feedback, culminating in two performances at Outerspace Studios in Wicker Park. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: When the Wolves Came In/Abraham.In.Motion

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Sam Pratt, Katherine Ellis Kirk. Photo: Tim Barden

Sam Pratt, Catherine Ellis Kirk/Photo: Tim Barden

RECOMMENDED

Some Chicago audiences might remember Kyle Abraham from the Harris Theater last year in the duet he created for himself and Wendy Whelan as part of her “Restless Creature” program. Or the name might ring a bell from a Hubbard Street program a year ago, when the young choreographer was commissioned to create a new work for the company. This month, Abraham brings his own New York-based company, Abraham.In.Motion, back to the MCA Stage in a production of his 2014 trilogy that both celebrates and questions the progress of the 1960s civil rights movement, inspired by the Max Roach protest album “We Insist! Freedom Now Suite.” Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Secret Experiments in Ballet #4: Phantom Dance/Emily Stein Dance

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RECOMMENDED

Emily Stein’s “Phantom Dance” is a reflection on how the ballet world always left her, a classically trained dancer, feeling “like a bit of a misfit intellectually.” Calling on her experiences as associate artistic director, choreographer and dancer for Michelle Kranicke’s Zephyr Dance for eighteen years, and with Deborah Hay in her Solo Performance Commissioning Project, Stein intends to use a blended choreographic approach as a way of forcing a critical realignment in the figure of the ballerina, as originated in the fairy-tale figures of “Wilis and sylphs, the supernatural incarnations of women that have become the underpinnings of the ‘ballerina’ identity.”

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Preview: Ma(s)king Her/Honey Pot Performance

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Masking_her_image

RECOMMENDED

If you haven’t encountered the work of Felicia Holman, Aisha Josina Jean-Baptiste, Abra M. Johnson and Meida Teresa McNeal, collectively known as Honey Pot Performance, you need to get on it. And if you have, you’ll be excited about their upcoming “Ma(s)king Her” at the Pritzker Pavilion. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: STOMPING GROUNDS/Chicago Human Rhythm Project

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Muntu Dance Theatre

Muntu Dance Theatre

RECOMMENDED

Percussive dance organization Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s all-free multicultural performance series returns for a second welcome year, touring the neighborhoods that each participating dance company calls home. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Circling the Square/Hedwig Dances

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“Circling the Square” at the Athenaeum Theatre continues in the immersive, interdisciplinary mode for which Hedwig is known—and promises to raise the bar a notch. Also on the program is a reprise of “ASCENDance” and the premiere of a new work, “Trio M,” both pieces rife with concepts of mathematics. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Time Steps/Chicago Tap Theatre

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RECOMMENDED

When one thinks of narrative dance, the first thing to come to mind is likely either story ballet—swans, princes and evil witches frolicking through a magical, wordless realm of classical music and cutout sets—or contemporary, multi-disciplinary productions that weave storytelling, dialogue, song and other stagecraft into modern/contemporary choreography. Mark Yonally, founder of Chicago Tap Theatre, uses a more percussive medium to spin a tale. Working with poetry-slam founder Marc Kelly Smith, Yonally creates original evening-length “tap operas.” Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Precious Jennings and Jane Jerardi/LinkUP Spring Session Showing

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Precious Jennings. Video still: Amelia Charter

Precious Jennings. Video still: Amelia Charter

RECOMMENDED

As Plato asserted, we are born with a memory of forms. Bringing together several years worth of relationship histories—between herself and lovers, friends, teachers, colleagues, between her own dance and the poetry of Heathcote Williams—improviser Precious Jennings has built a performance rooted in the relationship of humans to animals of land and sea. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: What Brings Me to This Place/RE|Dance

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Lucy Riner is nervous about the newest RE|Dance production. The creative partner of Wisconsin-based Michael Estanich, Riner is accustomed to Estanich taking the creative lead on a new dance. And this, her first full-length work, is a very personal one. “I would be remiss to not mention that this comes when I’m turning forty-two,” she says, “and have a need to feel sexy.” Riner’s inspiration for “What Brings Me to This Place” was her return to the club scene that immersed her high school and college days, be it at the Metro or dancing at hip-hop clubs on the South Side. “The clubs are where people let loose and be themselves. It’s when you see people at their most vulnerable.” Read the rest of this entry »

Herd Instinct: Lucas Crandall Invokes a Stampede at Hubbard Street Dance

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Photo: Todd Rosenberg

Photo: Todd Rosenberg

By Irene Hsiao

From its roots as a small tap-dancing studio on the corner of Hubbard and LaSalle, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago has become one of the companies that defines contemporary dance on an international scale, presenting works by choreographers that have fundamentally altered the way theatergoers understand movement, including Jiri Kylian, Ohad Naharin and, recently, William Forsythe. Now in its thirty-eighth season, the company presents a mixed bill of works by Chicago-based dancemakers in its Spring Series at the Harris Theater. The program features former Luna Negra Dance Theater artistic director and Hubbard Street alumnus Gustavo Ramirez Sansano’s homage to ballet revolutionary George Balanchine “I am Mister B,” current Hubbard Street choreographer-in-residence Alejandro Cerrudo’s dramatic 2014 piece “The Impossible,” and a new work for the entire company by long-time Hubbard Street rehearsal director Lucas Crandall. Read the rest of this entry »