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Friday, December 15

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Dance Sun Dec 04 2011

Celebrating Chicago's Women of Song

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for DEEPLYROOTED.jpgFrom blues and gospel to jazz and R&B, when it comes to female singers, Chicago has certainly produced some of the best; this week, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater pays homage to the music of these singing sensations in Chicago Women of Song.

"Originally, it was going to be called 'Women of Song,' " said artistic director, Kevin Iega Jeff. "When we began to work more with The Publicity Works, we began to focus more on Chicago women."

This 15th anniversary season finale performance boasts a dance tribute to songs by a diverse mix of notables including Chaka Khan, Dinah Washington, Mavis Staples, Anita O'Day, Mahalia Jackson, Minnie Riperton and Jennifer Hudson. For Jeff, covering a variety of music genres was a given. "I think that kind of speaks to Chicago's musical diversity, heritage and background," he said. "Therefore, there lies the challenge to come up with choreography and movement that really exemplifies that diversity and matches the power of their songs."

Chicago Women of Song will also feature a special guest, actress and dancer Jasmine Guy, who will serve as honorary chair for the event. "I've known Jasmine a good while--since when I was in New York pursuing my choreography--we always were friendly and knew each other and had respect for each others' work as our careers developed." said Jeff. "I saw her in Atlanta and I asked her if she would come to Chicago and be our honorary host and she agreed. I think she brings heart that is important to the work we're doing."

In addition to powerful and moving choreography, Jeff is hopeful the audience takes away something else from the performance. "Aside from being entertained and inspired, I really want people to reflect upon what we share onstage--in a way that enhances their own life--that would be one goal," he said. "The other is for Chicago to realize that it has Deeply Rooted, a world class company representing the African-American dance aesthetic; I hope this performance brings light to that so we can take that next step to getting to that world stage."

See Chicago Women of Song at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph, for one night only, Friday, Dec. 9 at 8pm. Tickets are $40-$65; for more information, call 312-334-7777.

 
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