For over twenty-five summers, the Chicago Human Rhythm Project has drawn hoofers and rhythmic dancers from across the country to Chicago for “Rhythm World,” a month-long festival of workshops, demonstrations, master classes, tap battles and performances. Starting this year and for the next five years, director Lane Alexander is dedicating “Rhythm World” to CHRP alums who have gone on to perform on Broadway, win MacArthur “Genius” grants and choreograph for Lincoln Center. “The children and teens who studied with us ten to twenty years ago are not children anymore,” Alexander says in a press release. “We are devoting the next several years to exploring their experiences—who inspired them and why—as well as how that inspiration is affecting the work they are creating now. We’ll provide them with classrooms and theaters to pass this inspiration to new dancers and dance audiences.”
The festival culminates with “JUBA!,” three unique programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art, July 20-23. The all-caps-plus-exclamation-point title is no overstatement; “JUBA!” explodes with amazing talent, hot beats and positive vibes from dancers of all ages. Wednesday night is a fundraiser for CHRP’s Tap Scholar Award, with performances by youth ensembles from North Carolina, Seattle and Chicago. Thursday and Saturday feature Jumaane Taylor’s inventive, rhythmically labyrinthine “Supreme Love,” performed by Chicago’s M.A.D.D. Rhythms to the music of Afrika Bambaataa and John Coltrane, played on stage by Rajiv Halim and his jazz quartet. Friday night stars a multi-generational ensemble exploring the performances of hoofer Earl “Groundhog” Basie.
If you’re looking for something early in the week, you can catch Rhythm World faculty perform at Jazz Showcase Monday night or their students in a showcase at the Fine Arts Building Tuesday. See any of the shows, see all of them. (Sharon Hoyer)
At the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago, (312)397-4010. July 20-23. Tickets for Thursday-Saturday performances are $25-$35, Wednesday night fundraiser is $50.