One of the most surprising and diverse Chicago dance events happens each summer, when Melissa Thodos provides an in-house choreographic incubator to her company members, giving them the full resources of the company to create new works and put them on stage. During the development of the pieces, the budding choreographers show their work to a panel of established dance artists for feedback. I attended part of one of these showcases and saw a group of emerging artists worth following, each tuning their distinctive voice and, perhaps even more interesting, saw dancers learning the movement language of their peers. The handful of pieces I previewed all generated, very appealingly, from primal, elemental places. Cara Carper Balcer and Brian Hare build a Thunderdome of sound and energy—dancers in ferocious combat, not with each other, but with a deeper force: the fight of existence. Then there’s Jessica Miller Tomlinson’s sexy, slithering piece, inspired by Zen gardens,
that brings to mind both snakecharming and Southern Gothic storytelling. There is a trove of creative talent in the Thodos company; this is your chance to see it. (Sharon Hoyer)
At the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 North Dearborn, (312)266-6255. Friday and Saturday, July 19 and 20 at 7:30pm and Sunday, July 21 at 5pm. $35.