Category Archives: Dance Review

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

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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.

 

Georgia

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

Quinn

 

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)

Cadence

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

Berceuse

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

Clan(device)

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

Playlist

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

Beautiful! Hedwig Dances Presents Of Time And Tide at Ruth Page Theatre (April 22, 2017)

The first piece is titled “Harbor”. It’s a duet by married couple Ben Law and Chih-Hsien Lin. It’s a playful piece in which they explore the push and pull of a relationship. They use brightly colored folding chairs which provide a great visual and an interesting tool to use in their performance.

The second piece, “Four Strong Winds”,  begins with a single dancer on stage. Leaves fall from the ceiling directly onto her. It’s a beautiful image reminiscent of the film, American Beauty. Some of the music used in this piece is also similar to the style of the movie.  Both the dance and the film are magnificent performances.

Towards the end of the second act, “Blues in My Sleep” by James Cotton plays as the dancers carry out a rolled up section of AstroTurf. When it is unrolled, a large shirt is found inside. Two of the dancers exchange wearing the shirt back and forth in very creative ways. The turf is also used creatively to alter the environment of the dancers.  It’s an incredibly fun piece and a fantastic way to end a night of great dancing.

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Get tickets now for Of Time And Tide for the final shows this weekend!

Quinn Delaney

Top 6 Moments from Giordano Dance Chicago’s 2017 Spring Series at Harris Theatre (March 31, 2017)

 

  1. 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 Grusin Suite and it’s an excellent choice to start the Giordano Dance Chicago’s 2017 Spring Series.  1. GDC's Devin Buchanan in Grusin Suite. Photo by Gorman Cook Photography
  1. In A Ritual Dynamic, Egyptian Disco plays which features a very strong beat. At one point, the entire company is jumping side to side which makes for a fantastic visual.

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  1. Right after intermission, one small flashlight in the large dark theatre appears on the side of the stage.  A man humorously sneaks across the front of the curtain with the small light.
  1. Sneaky Pete is not a reference to the Amazon show of the same name. But it does feature “I Will Follow You” by Abel Korzeniowski.
  1. Lost in this World starts with “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran and everyone in dance club attire. The crowd immediately applauds as they dance to the beat. “And last night you were in my room, and now my bed sheets smell like you.”
  1. The Man That Got Away is the best piece of the night. Judy Garland sings as a woman dances dramatically while a man dressed in a tuxedo stands still looking off to the left. He doesn’t react at all as she dances around him or even when she runs and jumps on him.  The emotional singing by Garland is perfectly matched by the dancing of Ashley Downs. At the end, she embraces the man, who slips away and walks off stage as the audience erupts in applause!

Catch Giordano Dance next at the Made In Chicago Dance Series at the Auditorium Theatre!

Quinn Delaney

Exceptional! Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre at the Auditorium Theatre (March 22, 2017)

Walking Mad, the second performance tonight, is a magical piece. It begins with a man entering the stage in front of the curtain. He walks center stage and then seems to lift the curtain revealing a large wall on the stage. He approaches the wall to inspect it and then suddenly the wall pushes him towards the front of the stage. The wall is very interactive with the ability to move, spin, fold down, and split apart. It also has doors that open which the dancers often use. It makes for a fascinating show.

 

Ravel’s Bolero plays during this piece and it’s a perfect fit. It sets the fun playful mood at the start of the relationship. When one of the dancers appears to reach behind the wall and steal the hat off another dancer from over 40ft away, the entire audience laughs. They are also delighted when she then runs behind the wall throwing clothes in the air and then jumps on the male dancer. The music stops for a very intense scene in which the wall folds to form a corner in which the girl hides. Finally, the music transforms into sadness as the couple splits up. It’s an emotional journey expertly expressed through exceptional dancing.

Get your tickets for Alvin Ailey now through Sunday!

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Quinn Delaney