The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events hosts a series of free downtown dance performances through the month of November. It begins this weekend at the Cultural Center with a collaboration between Molly Shanahan of Mad Shak and choreographer/dancer/costume designer Jeff Hancock, several years in the making. Entitled “And We Shall Be Rid of Them,” the duet uses the tale of Hansel and Gretel as a diving board for themes of loss and vulnerability. Shanahan said the piece wasn’t originally intended to explore loss—more the notion of being lost—but both artists experienced a great deal of loss during the making of the piece. “We both came to a deep realization that loss is a part of life,” Shanahan said. “Maybe the benefits of some of the losses I suffered was an opening up of my sense of humor.”
Next in the series is a performance by the Space Movement Project on the stage of the Pritzker Pavilion. The audience is seated against the back wall of the bandshell and a glass wall enclosing the stage provides the perfect backdrop for a performance about the development of the prairie. “Bottom’s Edge” explores the ecological consequences of a natural landscape no longer able to regenerate. The piece is inspired in part by the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial.
The following weekend brings Brooklyn-born performance series “CATCH” to the Storefront Theater, featuring a variety of performances by Midwest artists. The series concludes the weekend of the 20th with “Strip Tease,” also at the Storefront, a sensory feast presented by Minneapolis-based artist Chris Schlichting. (Sharon Hoyer)
“And We Shall Be Rid of Them” is at the Cultural Center, 78 East Washington, November 5 -7 at 6:30pm. “Bottom’s Edge” is at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, November 6 & 7 at 8pm. “CATCH” is at the Storefront Theater, 66 East Randolph, November 13 & 14 at 7:30pm. “Strip Tease” is at the Storefront Theater, November 20 & 21 at 7:30pm. All performances are free.