Theater, Dance, Comedy and Performance in Chicago

Preview: RockCitizen/The Seldoms

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Photo: Jonny Riese

Photo: Jonny Riese

RECOMMENDED

Carrie Hanson picks up after last year’s “Power Goes”—a brilliant evaluation of personal and political power through the lens of the Lyndon B. Johnson administration—back in the sixties, her talented cast of seven lined up facing the audience, repeatedly singing the first line of the chorus to “Me and Bobby McGee.” A woman sprawled out with a megaphone provides vocal coaching after each iteration (“um…grittier”). As the phrase evolves so does the physicality of the singers until music, sexuality and righteous resistance burst into dance. “RockCitizen” is another examination of power, specifically resistance to power… and the power of rock ‘n’ roll to galvanize social movements through the heart and the glands. 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: Ma(s)king Her/Honey Pot Performance

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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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CTT_TimeSteps_PreProd1

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 »

Chaos, Crisis and Contradiction: Butoh and Hip-Hop meet at the Dance Center

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By Sharon Hoyer

Butoh artist Michael Sakamoto and Rennie Harris, founder/artistic director of hip-hop performance group Rennie Harris Puremovement, merge dance forces into an entrancing, emotionally potent new physical language in “Flash,” a two-man, autobiographical show that plumbs the formation of cultural identity and the power of vulnerability. Michael Sakamoto spoke about the performance in a phone interview from his home in Ohio. 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 »

Preview: Hush/Joe Goode Performance Group

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Damara Vita Ganley (Shadow),      Felipe Barrueto-Cabello and Melecio Estrella. Photo: RJ Muna

Damara Vita Ganley (Shadow), Felipe Barrueto-Cabello and Melecio Estrella/Photo: RJ Muna

RECOMMENDED

In dance, the body speaks a language that transcends the need for speech in a mode that depends on the universality of the flesh, uttered in dialects of technique. Joe Goode Performance Group counters this convention in “Hush,” March 10-12 at the Dance Center of Columbia College, in which six interlocking stories about silence and secrets emerge from a chance meeting in a bar, developed from true stories of trauma overheard in San Francisco. The resulting dance-theater piece imagines silence as the essence of self-discovery and empowerment. Read the rest of this entry »