Category Archives: Dance Review

Review: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Presents An Evening of Crystal Pite at The Harris Theatre (December 7, 2017)

A Picture of You Falling : Crystal Pite, Choreography

This piece features two dancers repeatedly falling. Over electronic music, a voice narrates the fall: knees, hip, elbow, shoulder, head. The narration is reminiscent of Stranger Than Fiction. In both cases, the spoken words describe the action exactly as it is happening in a calm female voice.

The excellent music composition for this work is by Owen Belton. It’s a very unique piece that is truly a work of art.

 

The Other You : Crystal Pite, Choreography

This piece also features music by Owen Belton along with “Moonlight Sonata”, aka Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor, Op. 27 No 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven. It is also another duet.

With this strategy of having all the pieces done by the same choreographer, you really get a sense for her style. But at the same time, it takes away from the variety that is usually a major component of a Hubbard Street show.

Get tickets for An Evening of Crystal Pite through Sunday, December 10th!

Crystal Pite's Grace Engine

12/6/17 4:40:50 PM — Chicago, IL, USA Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s winter season tech of Crystal Pite’s “Grace Engine.” © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

Quinn Delaney

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Impressive! A Golden Celebration of Dance at The Auditorium Theatre (November 12, 2017)

Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre first opened it’s doors in 1899. In 1941, due to the Great Depression, it closed its doors. On October 31st, 1967, it reopened with a performance by the New York City Ballet. And now, in 2017, the theatre celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Grand Re-Opening with a one night only show combining dancers from around the world. The following is a handful of the best performances.

 

The Swan

Liudmila Konovalova (Vienna State Ballet)

Choreography by Mikhail Fokine

Music by Camille Saint-Saëns

This performance was very impressive. Liudmila Konovalova was standing on point for almost the entire dance. Dressed in all white, she was as graceful and beautiful as a swan gliding on water.

 

Diana and Acteon Pas de Deux

Koto Ishihara (San Francisco Ballet) and Brooklyn Mack (The Washington Ballet)

Choreography by Agrippina Vaganova

Music by Cesare Pugni

This was another incredible number with Brooklyn Mack performing a series of impressive athletic ballet jumps that were met with thunderous applause by the audience.

 

Caught

Ian Spring (Parsons Dance)

Choreography by David Parsons

Music by Robert Fripp

See a video here.

Ian Spring

This is a very innovative piece. Using quick flashes of light, Ian Spring appears to transport around the stage without moving a muscle. Every time the light is on him, he is in a different location holding the same body position. Then, he seems to fly around the stage without ever touching the ground. Each time the light hits him, he is mid-air. The audience is awestruck and erupts in applause at the conclusion!

Millennium Skiva

Todd Burnsed and Nicole Loizides (MOMIX)

Choreography by Moses Pendleton

Music by Brainbug

This piece sticks out immensely from the other acts tonight. Firstly, the music is very electronic and futuristic. Secondly, their outfits are shiny silver outfits that look like space suits. While wearing skis, Todd Burnsed and Nicole Loizides skillfully move to the music in a sleek fashion including leaning forwards and backwards at sharp angles and doing summersaults. It’s a truly artistic number whose only comparison is to a Cirque du Soleil show.

 

Takademe

Solomon Dumas (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater)

Choreography by Robert Battle

Music by Sheila Chandra

The song uses vocals in a very percussive manner and the dance is choreographed to match. Solomon Dumas does an excellent job visualizing the speed of the song and also the humor in it. The crowd is absolutely delighted.

 

Check out the calendar of the Auditorium Theatre for upcoming events!

Quinn Delaney

Fantastic! Polaris: A Contemporary Pole Dance Company Presents Poleitico: A Pole Show on Politics at The Den Theatre (November 8, 2017)

Poleitico is a dance show that explores issues such as gay rights, mental health, and climate change through pole dancing. November 8th was specifically chosen as it is the one year anniversary of Trump’s election. The dancing is very impressive and athletic and is met with thunderous applause by the audience. They make it look easy climbing up to the ceiling and spinning around. Also, the music chosen for the performances is fantastic.

Spotify Playlist of the Songs Used:

 

Program for the Night:

…But Equal: Human by Sevdaliza (racism piece)

Her: Her by Madame Ghandi (women’s issues piece)

Unholy War: Unholy War by Jacob Banks (religious persecution piece)

Reclaiming Our Lives and Crying Glory: Glory by Common and John Legend (BLM piece)

Hexus: The Spring by Khary Laurent (climate change piece)

Frame of Mind: Breathe Me by Sia (mental health piece)

Requiem : Requiem For Tower by Escala – An adaptation of Lux Aeterna from the Requiem For A Dream Soundtrack  (drug addiction piece)

When Home is a Person:  Stickwitu by The Pussycat Dolls (gay rights piece)

-It’s unknown if these dancers are a couple in real life, but it definitely felt like they were.

Generations to Come: Amerika by Young the Giant (immigration piece)

-See our review of Young the Giant at Northerly Island on September 9th here, in which Amerika is their opening song.

Quinn Delaney

pole2

 

Spotify Track URIs:

spotify:track:7rgnedMfQa1YHzKIe5Mwem
spotify:track:1NpMKUlA4fKue0vy4V5ejC
spotify:track:4PjZsEf8bCIVyf4VXd57wS
spotify:track:2fmqPLRFdJNPhLU3b2NSFp
spotify:track:6hrgeEo1WQOHVeF8QMv68S
spotify:track:1xB7YdTKvUzO4bOjN6QAW8
spotify:track:4NjR63Up0uMkQBlKvlZd1l
spotify:track:6pqKbOiVd58jcnxqIB10Ra

Incredibly Expressive! Giordano Dance Chicago at Harris Theatre (October 27, 2017)

Giordano Moves – 2005 – reconstructed in 2017

This piece is pure jazz dance. It is expertly choreographed by the founder, Gus Giordano, and restaged by his daughter, Nan Giordano. Just like the original music by George McRae, it’s a mix of many people dancing at once and spotlighted solos. And just like at a jazz concert, the solos are followed by a loud applause by the audience. The dancing is incredibly expressive and it’s a great showcase of this company’s talent.

La Belleza De Cuba – 2013 La Belleza de Cuba - MaeghanMcHale&LinneaStureson

The title translates to The Beauty of Cuba. The salsa music starts and the audience is immediately captured by the long flowing dresses. It’s very impressive how the dancers can switch from one style of dance to a completely different one so quickly.

Grusin Suite – 1993 – reconstructed in 2017

The Theme from The Firm starts and the dancers begin joyfully moving. They are all wearing blue jumpsuits and the crowd is instantly engaged. The piece is an excellent choice to start the second half of the show.

GrusinSuite - AdamHouston

G-Force – 2012

At the very end of this piece, a single bright white light shines straight down from the ceiling and the dancers slowly rise up towards it as if they are being beamed up to a spaceship. It’s a very cool visual and a great close to the piece.

Overall, it was an impressive night of dance showcasing the talent of Giordano Dance Company in many different styles and celebrating 55 years since their founding!

Quinn Delaney

Extraordinary! The Joffrey Ballet Presents Giselle at The Auditorium Theatre

A young woman, Giselle, falls in love with Albrecht. Hilarion, a gamekeeper, warns her not to trust him. After all, Albrecht is engaged and he is pretending to be a peasant when he is actually a Duke. Often during a dance performance, it can be difficult to tell what is happening. However, this is not the case in this performance as all the dancers expressively display the action and emotion.

The movement is extraordinary. It’s graceful and beautiful. Also, it’s impressively athletic with the long stretches of jumping and balancing on one foot. This is truly world class ballet that is often met with thunderous applause after an impressive feat. It’s an absolute must see for fans of classic ballet. In particular, Amanda Assuca as Giselle and Alberto Velazquez were outstanding.

4 The Joffrey Ballet_Photo by Cheryl Mann (4)

Equally impressive is the set and costumes. At the beginning of each act, when the curtain rises, the audience is in awe. This is especially the case for the second act when the stage floor is covered in a thick layer of fog to create an eerie graveyard scene. The costumes of the Wilis, female spirits who dance men to death, provoke their beauty and ghostliness.

10 The Joffrey Ballet_Photo by Cheryl Mann

Get tickets now for Giselle through October 29th!

Quinn

Also see our review of The Joffrey Ballet’s spring show, Global Visionaries.

Finnish Dance: Tero Saarinen Company at Joyce Theatre (October 19, 2017)

The lights dim and an announcement asks for everyone’s attention. Please turn off your cell phones. Then, there is something happening in the fourth row. A young man is having a seizure. He is shaking as the people around him look stunned. Someone yells, “Is there a doctor in the house?” A doctor approaches and looks at the man. “Call 911”, he says. The young man has stopped shaking and is now still. After a while, the young man gets up to walk out. A few people start to clap, until he suddenly goes limp again and falls into the people around him. They place him back in the seat. A few minutes later, the sirens of an ambulance are heard in the theatre. The paramedics arrive and receive an applause. Just then, the young man gets up and walks out, looking embarrassed. “Sorry everyone,” he says just before exiting. He was clearly uncomfortable being fragile.

TeroSaarinenCompany6

Finally, the dance show can begin. The recorded announcement plays again and the curtains rises. The stage is surrounded by hanging ropes that have the appearance of a cage. The dancers walk around in rigid squares, like animals in captivity. At moments, they pause, and then resume walking again. This goes on for a bit longer than is comfortable. At last, they begin to break out of the trance and move through the ropes. In a way, they are transforming their space and escaping captivity.

TeroSaarinenCompany4

The timing of the medical events was very bizarre. The fact that the seizure occurred immediately when the show was starting and that he completely recovered immediately when the paramedics arrived is interesting. Also, the fact that the performance explored the themes of male strength and fragility. Was this medical event was staged? Probably not, but maybe they should stage it.

Get tickets now for Tero Saarinen Company through Sunday!

Quinn Delaney

 

World Class! Visceral Dance Chicago Fall Engagement at Harris Theatre (October 7, 2017)

Minor Threat (1996 | Company Premiere 2017)

Choreography: Mark Godden

Music: (Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, K. 466) Performed by Friedrich Fulda, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra & Claudio Abbado

 

The choreography matches the music perfectly in this piece. Every dance move is synchronized, note by note. It’s incredibly impressive as the dancing captures the grace and beauty of the music.

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9/16/17 3:27:00 PM Visceral Fall Season © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

Ruff Celts (2016)

Choreography and Concept: Marguerite Donlon

Music: Sam Auinger, De Dannan, Luke Kelly, Kila, Sinead O’Connor, Clas Willeke

This piece was also performed at Dance For Life Chicago on August 19th. It uses an interesting mix of music by Irish and German composers. They often throw chalk in the air which creates a cool visual effect with the sharp lighting. The men wear kilts as they dance and yelp. It’s a performance that really exemplifies their name, Visceral.

Pick a Chair (World Premiere)

Choreography: Danielle Agami

Original Music: Glenn Kotche

This is a very unique piece. A single dancer enters the stage carrying a violin. She sits down and tells the crowd that her mother died of a rare STD. Two dancers come out and do a dance simulating sex that almost looks more like wrestling. The man walks off but the woman just lies there, dead. She is then dragged off. It’s all done in a comical manner that has the audience cracking up. The dancer with the cello then describes meeting a guy that she really likes and having the best two weeks of her life. The dancer representing her goes and gives a huge hug to a male dancer. Then, they dance together with other couples in a very joyful manner. To close out the piece, she sings “Sugar, We’re Goin” Down by Fall Out Boy.  It’s a great close to a very fun performance.

A

9/16/17 5:41:52 PM Visceral Fall Season © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

Synapse (2017)

Choreography: Nick Pupillo

Original Music: Darryl Hoffman

Long thin bright lights hang from the ceiling around the dancers. They flash in sync with the music. Then the lights rise up and the dancers move to the electronic beats as if they are in a club. It is quite a visual feast.

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9/16/17 6:16:00 PM Visceral Fall Season © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

The entire night is excellently programmed. It’s actually very similar to the Joffrey’s Global Visionaries program. They both start with a classical piece, have a joyful piece in the middle, and end with a sleek modern electronic dance with long thing white lights. And also, they are both world class productions!

Quinn Delaney