Given the well-worn territory that dance theater represents, it might be a surprise that it shows up in the LookOut Series, Steppenwolf’s more experimental, cross-disciplinary side. For Kelly Anderson, artistic director of Kelly Anderson Dance Theatre, that’s an opportunity. “I like to tell stories, create characters, create images. Dance just seems to come along for the ride,” she explains. “There are often misconceptions of contemporary modern dance. Many people assume that when they walk into a dance performance, they will be experiencing something strictly physical and something serious, even solely abstract. What most [people] don’t realize is there’s a community of artists making work that’s more accessible. Exploring subjects both dancers and non-dancers can relate to, and relate to equally, is very important to me. I enjoy creating a bridge between the artist and non-artist. I want people to relate, I want them to get it. To achieve this, I tend to utilize theater, often comedy, to spark that conversation.”
For “Skits and Pieces,” Anderson takes the opportunity to introduce theatergoers to “select excerpts and individual works that best reflect what I’m most interested in as an artist,” and to “give them a taste of the variety KADT has,” which includes selections from “Livin’ the Dream,” the company’s flagship performance. For Anderson and her dancers, that’s all very clearly a dream come true, one they hope to share with audiences. “It’ll be a good time, I promise,” says Anderson. (Michael Workman)
Kelly Anderson Dance Theatre at 1700 Theatre, 1700 North Halsted, $20, (312)335-1650, steppenwolf.org. November 8.