Category Archives: Dance Review

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Absolutely Fantastic! Dance for Life at Auditorium Theatre (August 19, 2017)

​Dance for Life 2017 is hosted by Carisa Barreca and Kevin Sciretta from The Second City. Barreca starred in The Art of Falling, a collaboration between Hubbard Street Dance and The Second City. Also, Sciretta saw The Art of Falling, three times! They did a fantastic job and really moved the night along well.

 In The Meantime…

Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theatre, and Trinity Irish Dance Company

The very first number features three dance companies. They each do their own unique style of tap dancing, one after another. A magical moment happens when they all dance together in a one-of-a-kind performance. The audience erupted in applause!

Excerpt from Joy

The Joffrey Ballet

 A single barefoot ballerina walks on stage. While holding her ballet slippers in front of her, she says “THIS is a shoe drop” — and proceeds to  drop her shoes. One by one, the other dancers join her and drop their shoes. It’s a very fun and silly start to a piece that definitely displays joy. The music used is Django Django’s First Light.

See the review of the full piece here.

In Tongues

Jessica Miller Tomlinson Choreography

This is ​a​ fun piece featuring Psycho Killer and Take Me To The River by the Talking Heads. At one point, a large bucket of water is brought out on stage. One by one, each dancers’ head is dunked into the water like a baptism and tossed to the side. Finally, the “dunker” dunks her own head and tosses herself on top of the pile. It’s a truly unique piece and it filled the audience with delight!

Giordano Dance Chicago

Can’t Take This Away

On a completely dark stage, a gospel choir takes the stage and begins singing beautifully. Then, ​t​he lights come on and the dancers appear as the audience cheers. The dancers close their set by then rushing into the aisles and continuing to dance with passion. Sweat flies from their brows as the audience erupts with applause and ​joy. The choir is singing their hearts out and it’s a fantastic close to the first half of the show. Nobody will be leaving at intermission!

Red Photoshoot

3/20/17 6:49:35 PM — Chicago, IL, USA Chicago Dancers United Dance For Life Red Photoshoot at Odd Machine © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Excerpt from A Picture of You Falling

This is Jason Hortin’s final performance for Hubbard Street. This piece features him alone, repeatedly falling. Over electronic music, a voice narrates the fall: knees, hip, elbow, shoulder, head. The excellent composition is by Owen Belton. It’s a very unique piece that is truly a work of art.

Dance for Life is an exceptional event to attend. The money raised goes to the The Dancers Fund which provides financial assistance to dance community professionals dealing with critical health issues. The collection of so many different talented dance companies together is amazing. This is definitely an annual show not to miss!

Quinn Delaney

Dazzling! Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Summer Series at Harris Theatre (June 8, 2017)

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Summer Series is a collection of eight very different dances. It’s a large dazzling variety of styles showcasing the wide range of the company. The following describes the best pieces of the night.

The 40s : Lou Conte, Choreography

The 40s displays the joy in America after World War II ended.  “Opus Number One” as performed by Ralph Burns starts and the full company dances happily out on to the stage with jazz hands waving. The song has that big band feel and swing is incorporated into the piece with a lot of twirls. Alicia Delgadillo stands out displaying a big ball of energy and enthusiasm. Lou Conte, the founder of Hubbard Street Dance, has remounted this piece expertly and exhibits the best of this troupe. What a joyful way to end the night.

A Picture of You Falling : Crystal Pite, Choreography

This piece features one dancer repeatedly falling. Over electronic music, a voice narrates the fall: knees, hip, elbow, shoulder, head. It’s a very unique piece that is truly a work of art.

The Golden Section : Choreographed by Twyla Tharp


This piece features music by David Byrne (of the Talking Heads). The dancers emerge joyfully in yellow 80s style workout clothes.

One Thousand Pieces (Water Section) : Choreographed by Alejandro Cerrudo

1000 Pieces

The dance floor is completely covered in water. The dancers swoop in and dance with water flying off their feet and hands. They glide around like they are on a slip and slide.

Georgia : Lou Conte, Choreography

This beautiful dance features Jacqueline Burnett and Jason Hortin dancing to “Georgia on My Mind” as performed by Willie Nelson. It’s a slow romantic dance that perfectly accompanies the music. It’s short and sweet (about 5 minutes), just like the song.



Get tickets now for the final two shows tonight and tomorrow!



Impressive! Nomi Dance Company Presents Ten Yeared at Athenaeum Theatre (May 20, 2017)

It’s the 10 year anniversary for the Nomi Dance Company and they have put together quite a show. It’s an impressive collection of pieces and it’s crazy that it only happens one night. It could surely run for a full week! Here are some of the highlights of the night:

 Bite Your Tongue

The dancers appear in full suits and dance to “Dangerous” by the xx. It’s a fantastic song choice and the contemporary dancing matches it perfectly. It’s a great start to the second half.

Going Crazy Pt 1 – Interlude

“I am going slowly crazy” by Dr. Jean Feldman is a song for kids. The dancers act like kids losing their minds. It’s a funny and strange piece.

Boiling Point

 The song used, “Under” by Ellen Allien & Apparat, is an electronic dance song. The sleek dancing and slick lighting together with this music make for a visually stunning performance.

Begin Again

The dancers are once again in their suits as “Make Me Lovely” by Laura Mvula plays. It’s a great finale to the show!

A compilation of rehearsal videos

Quinn Delaney

Exciting! Hubbard Street Dance Presents dance(e)volve at the MCA (May 10, 2017)


Before the official start time, the dancers begin coming on to the stage to stretch. They’re casually talking to each other and warming up while wearing workout type clothes. This gradually progresses into a performance which is very casual and feels like watching a rehearsal. At one point, a bunch of them start singing “Hey Jude” by the Beatles. At another point, they form a line and then they all sit on each other’s laps. At which point, the last person says “I don’t like being in the back.” So, one of the dancers brings him a chair to the audience’s delight. This piece has many funny moments in it and is a perfect piece to perform in an informal setting.

Cadence Run

5/9/17 3:16:31 PM — Chicago, IL Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Dance Evolve 2017 Cadence by Julia Rhodes © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017


This a beautiful ballet dance to a classical music song titled “Berceuse”, as performed by Budapest Strings. It’s graceful and joyous. It’s short, sweet, and very well done.

Berceuse Run


This piece feels like a music video. The lighting effects create a very sleek and futuristic look.  It features very strong acrobatic movements along to very modern music including the songs above and below. The picture at the very beginning of this post captures the excitement of this performance.

Get tickets now for danc(e)volve through Sunday!

Quinn Delaney

Phenomenal! The Joffrey Ballet Presents Global Visionaries at Auditorium Theatre (May 4, 2017)

The Miraculous Mandarin by Yuri Possokhov

The entire Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra is on stage playing behind the dancers. In this piece, the woman seduces men and then steals from them. The beginning of the relationship is very flirtatious and fun but then it becomes very dark and mysterious when she brings in her friends to rob him. It’s an emotionally intense piece executed expertly by the Joffrey.

1_The Miraculous Mandarin_Victoria Jaiani_Photo by Cheryl Mann

JOY by Alexander Ekman


A narrator’s voice says “What if the entire piece is just this? 30 minutes of random joyful dancing? Maybe that would work in gallery, where you could choose how long to watch. But here, you are stuck!” The audience cracks up. Comedy and dancing don’t often go together, but it’s become one of Ekman’s specialties.

Later on, a single dancer moves to the front of the stage and stares straight out. He sees something that makes him happy and he starts to dance. The entire company (about 30 dancers) emerges from off stage and stands behind him. Slowly, they all see what he sees and they begin joyfully dancing. Then, he stops and walks to the side to look at something else, where he eventually starts dancing again. The simplicity of this while at that same time displaying great joy is fantastic. Everyone has a smile on their face.

At one point, the dancers let go of a balloon and it floats to the high ceiling. The audience gasps at this loss, thus proving how this performance has brought upon a childlike joy by the dancing and the fun balloon.

Mammatus by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa

The score for this piece is “Weather One” by composer Michael Gordon. It has a very modern, sleek, and mysterious feel which matches the modern version of ballet dancing. The set features a large bright white structure of light tubes which contrasts perfectly with the all-black outfits worn by the dancers. A very thick fog covers the stage which gives the appearance of dancing on a cloud. The title, Mammatus, is derived from the Latin word for a specific cloud formation which is a perfect fit. This piece is a great finale to a phenomenal night of dancing.

Get tickets now for the final weekend of Global Visionaries!

Quinn Delaney