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Monday, July 13

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« Overheard Illustrated: "Redo" Chicago Dating 2.011: The Second Date »

Dance Wed Nov 02 2011

River North Remixed, Renewed

Al Sur del Sur, choreographed by Sabrina & Ruben Veliz_Photo by Sandro_Michael Gross and Jessica Wolfrum.jpg

Michael Gross and Jessica Wolfrum

Michael Gross and Jessica Wolfrum are busy. The life of a River North Chicago Dance Company member demands a lot, but the rewards are plentiful. And for a company as distinguished and praised as River North Dance, the rewards can be as abstract as personal connections to each choreographed dance piece to performance trips around the world.

Gross and Wolfrum are freshly back from a trip to Germany where the company performed their "On the Edge," and "Flavors of American Jazz" program. Each program showcases the diversity of the company's repertoire, with works that vary between the accessible and the abstract.

"I have found that the pieces we have in our repertoire provide a very diverse range of techniques and styles to consistently provide challenges for the dances," Gross began. "We like challenges. They are the things that help us to constantly push ourselves to improve and become the most versatile artists that we can possible be."


One such challenge includes the company premiere of SUPER STRAIGHT is coming down, an urban drama choreographed by Daniel Ezralow. The work was inspired by the photographic print series "Men in the Cities" by New York artist Robert Longo and is set to an original score by Dutch composer Thom Willems. The rehearsal process for new works for the company such as this takes three weeks.

"It is what it is ... a new and raw premiere, which sometimes can be the best performance of the week," said Wolfrum.

Blending contemporary and jazz dance elements, SUPER STRAIGHT is a physical and visually enriching piece. For dancers like Gross, the piece provides a complete package of athleticism, characterization, and challenge.


"The fun part for me is the mix between the movement - which has been taking significant time for me to get used to - and the specific characters that we all play," Gross said. Wolfrum agreed.

"It has been challenging in every aspect, from the technique and strength of falling and falling again to the character development amongst the cast of five, it [has] been challenging and so rewarding."

Other performances as part of the River North Chicago Dance Company's Fall 2011 engagement include the Harris Theater premiere of Charles Moulton's Nine Person Precision Ball Passing (performed earlier this year as part of the Chicago Dancing Festival); Artistic Director Frank Chaves' Simply Miles, Simply Us and Fixe; Sabrina and Ruben Veliz's Argentinian tango Al Sur Del Sur; a re-envisioning of the RNCD classic Reality of a Dream entitled Evolution of a Dream; and a solo from Robert Battle's Train.

The Fall 2011 engagement takes place on Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5 at 8pm. Tickets range from $30 - $75 and may be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 312-334-7777.

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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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