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Dance Wed Aug 24 2011

Dance, Dance, Revolution: Five Years of the Chicago Dancing Festival

FES090818_tr0548.jpg

Todd Rosenberg Photography

Sunlight filtered in through the windows of the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. Like past dance companies, the River North Chicago Dance Company used the cozy rehearsal space to finalize 9-Person Precision Ball Passing, a company premiere by Charlie Moulton. Nine dancers stood on a set of black stairs performing a largely upper-body based routine featuring repetitive hand gestures and minor juggling feats with colored balls. The entire routine looked not unlike the clapping games little children practice on school playgrounds.

On the surface, the movements appear simple, but a closer examination demonstrates how the movements grow increasingly more complicated rhythmically as the routine progresses. Stay calm and carry on was the motto of the routine as additional pressure to stay on the varying beat of the accompanying music demonstrated the various manifestations of contemporary dance.

Three dancers situate on each long step, with a group of performers on the middle step performing a more complicated routine complimented by seemingly similar groups sitting and standing in the front and back. The performance is a matter of movement, of the pressure of movement, of the need to keep moving regardless of what happens. In many ways, it feels like a metaphor for dance itself. The movement must go on.

The performance is part of the ongoing Chicago Dancing Festival, founded in 2007 to increase the visibility and awareness of dance in Chicago, access to the art form for larger and more diverse audiences, and provide additional aspiration for established and emerging local artists. Featuring performances from local companies such as the Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and the River North Chicago Dance Company along with national groups such as the Martha Graham Dance Company and the New York City Ballet, the Chicago Dancing Festival has quickly proven to be one of the major cultural highlights of the end of Summer in the city, and the beginning of a lush fall dance season.

All events for the 2011 Chicago Dancing Festival are free but tickets for the indoor performance showcases must be reserved in advance. No reservations are required for the Pritzker Pavilion outdoor performance or film screenings. Tickets are available online here.

--
The remaining festival schedule:
Wednesday, August 24, 6 and 8 pm: MCA Moves
Independent, avant-garde and up-and-coming dance artists are highlighted together in this special program hosted by renowned Martha Graham impersonator Richard Move. Japanese Butoh exponents Eiko & Koma perform a special site-specific work outside of the MCA before the show as part of The Caravan Project.
Venue: Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Avenue
Program:
• Martha Graham Dance Company in Shaker Interior from Snow on the Mesa by Robert Wilson
• Brian Brooks Moving Company, Motor by Brian Brooks
• Faye Driscoll and company in Not...Not, part I: If You Pretend You Are Drowning I Will Pretend I Am Saving You by Faye Driscoll
• Luck Plush Productions in Habituation by Julia Rhoads
• Move-It! Productions in Martha @ Chicago Dancing Festival by Richard Move, Sandra Kaufmann and Deborah Goodman

Thursday, August 25, 7:30 pm: Masters
Works by some of the dance world's most venerated master choreographers are seen together on one stage.
Venue: Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway
Program:
• Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in Petite Mort by Jirí Kylián
• Martha Graham Dance Company in Embattled Garden by Martha Graham
• Lar Lubovitch Dance Company in The Legend of Ten by Lar Lubovitch

Friday, August 26, 10 am - 6 pm: Movies
A new event for the 2011 Festival, this day-long screening features dance as portrayed through the lens of film, culminating with the ultimate dance drama, The Red Shoes.
Venue: Claudia Cassidy Theater of the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph Street
Program:
Invitation to the Dance (1956, directed by Gene Kelly)
A Dancer's World (1957, documentary directed by Peter Glushanok) with Martha Graham and company
Beach Birds (1992, documentary directed by Elliot Caplan) with Merce Cunningham and company
Dancemaker (1998, documentary directed by Matthew Diamond) with Paul Taylor and company
The Red Shoes (1948, directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger)

Friday, August 26, 6pm: Muses
This lecture/demonstration, hosted by dance historian and journalist Lucia Mauro, features a panel of choreographers and artistic directors discussing the creative relationship between choreographers and the dancers that inspire them, accompanied by performance excerpts.
Venue: Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Avenue
Panelists:
• Janet Eilber, Artistic Director of the Martha Graham Dance Company
• Bettie de Jong, Rehearsal Director of the Paul Taylor Dance Company
• Alejandro Cerrudo, Choreographer-in-Residence for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
• Lar Lubovitch, Artistic Director of the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company & Chicago Dancing
Festival Co-Founder

Saturday, August 27, 7:30 pm: Celebration of Dance
The Festival grand finale celebrates the best of contemporary American dance.
Venue: Jay Pritzker Pavilion of Millennium Park
Program:
• The Joffrey Ballet in Stravinsky Violin Concerto by George Balanchine
• Ballet West in Sinfonietta by Jirí Kylián
• Martha Graham Dance Company in Diversion of Angels by Martha Graham
• Paul Taylor Dance Company in Esplanade by Paul Taylor
• New York City Ballet Guest Artists Gonzalo Garcia and Tiler Peck in Tchaikovsky Pas de
Deux
by George Balanchine
• River North Dance Company in 9-Person Precision Ball Passing by Charlie Moulton

 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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