Category Archives: Dance Review

Excellence! Giordano Dance Chicago at Harris Theater (March 23, 2019)

Sneaky Pete (2018)
Choreography by Brock Clawson
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 in silence. The following dance features him being chased around the stage as “I Will Follow You” by Abel Korzeniowski plays. By the way, Sneaky Pete is not a reference to the Amazon show of the same name.
Flickers (World Premiere)
Choreography by Marinda Davis
This piece is about chasing flickers of light amid the darkness. It begins with the dancers legs running in the air as the light flickers. “Change is Everything” by Son Lux plays as they move across the stage. “This moment changes everything” sings the lead singer in the song. The music matches the dancing quite well.
Alloy (2011)
Choreography by Autumn Eckman
The dancers in this piece are Maeghan McHale and Devin Buchanan. This is their finale performance with Giordano Dance. It makes this romantic duet all the more special as they dance beautifully to Beethoven.

SOUL (2018)Choreography by Ray Leeper (So You Think You Can Dance)

Music: Tina Turner – Proud Mary

This piece is fun, soulful and energetic, just like Ray Leeper’s work on So You Think You Can Dance. It has mass appeal and truly matches the spirit of this iconic song. After the curtain call, the dancers come out and dance in the aisles in a great immersive finale.

Cost of a ticket: $55
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

SOUL 2

Catch Giordano Dance at Dance For Life at the Auditorium Theatre on August 17, 2019!

Quinn Delaney

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Beautiful! Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Malpaso Dance Company at Auditorium Theatre (March 2, 2019)

Cloudline (2017)

Choreography by Robyn Mineko Williams

This fantastic piece features a giant billowing sheet that the performers constantly move up and down creating a cloudline appearance. The dancers move around smoothly as if they are dancing in the clouds. It’s such a romantic image. You could also say the couples are dancing between the sheets.

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Elemental (World Premier)

Choreography by Robyn Mineko Williams

This dance is a beautiful piece of art. It creates a raw feeling of humans moving with their animal instincts in an elemental fashion. The performers move with such grace that it creates a sense of peace. The choreographer traveled to Havana, Cuba to work with the Malpaso Dance Company to create this dance. As she says, “The piece is a true representation of the cultural exchange that this process has been.”

Malpaso Dance Company, photo by Cheryl Mann (6)

© Rachel Aka Photography 2019

Get tickets now for the Summer Series at the Harris Theatre, June 6, 8, and 9!

Quinn Delaney

Magnificent! Joffrey Ballet Presents Anna Karenina at The Auditorium Theatre (Through February 24, 2019)

Anna Karenina has a void in her life. Her husband and son are not enough for her. She seeks a new love with Vronsky. Things don’t go smoothly for her on this journey in a snowy Russia.

The dancing in the production is fantastic. Amanda Assucena’s performance as Anna Akrenina is impressive. She is so emotionally expressive. It’s also a true feat of endurance as she is on stage for most of the scenes. Greig Matthews as Vronskey and Temur Suluashvili as Anna’s husband are excellent, especially in the scene where they are both dancing with Anna. It’s an expertly choreographed dance with the three of them moving as one.

Victoria Jaiani_Alberto Velazquez_Fabrice Calmels_Photo by Cheryl Mann

The original score was created by Ilya Demutsky specifically for this production. It is played magnificently by The Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra along with the operatic singing in Russian. Unfortunately, there aren’t surtitles translating it into English like they do at most operas. It could also be helpful to have surtitles describing the action taking place on stage. Or, maybe it’s best not to have them and not worry about the meaning of the words and just get swept up in the emotion.

Victoria Jaiani_Photo by Cheryl Mann

Get tickets now for Anna Karenina through February 24!

Quinn Delaney

Wide Variety! Repertory Dance Theatre presents Emerge at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center (January 5th, 2019)

As with most dance performances containing a wide variety of dances, some will resonate more with me than others. Here are my personal highlights.

V0 – V26

Choreographed and Performed by Elle Johansen, Lauren Curley, and Hannah Marks

Music by A Cloud for Climbing

The piece begins with three climbing mats upright on the stage. Suddenly, they begin to move and it’s revealed that the dancers have them strapped to their backs. Later on they remove the mats and fall on them repeatedly as if falling while climbing. This is a truly unique idea for a dance that is easy to follow and a great starting piece.

 

Trifle

Choreographed and Performed by Terry & Jaclyn Brown (Spouses)

Music by Martin Gauffin and Elvis Presley

The dance begins with the couple toying with each other. They get in each other’s way in a comical fashion. Then, in the second half, their arms interlock and they can’t get loose as “Stuck on You” by Elvis Presley plays. They spin and twist around connected to each other. It’s a very cute piece that shows how this couple plays together through their challenges.

 

Navigation

Performed by Efren Corado Garcia

Music by J.S. Bach

Rows of takeout boxes cover the middle of the stage. The dancer navigates his way through them without touching them. In the end, he opens one and finds a rose. It feels like this was his search for love. However, how can he know the value of what he has found if he didn’t open any of the other boxes?

 

MASC (part 2)

Choreography: Dan Higgins

Performers: Dan Higgins, Kaya Wolsey, Micah Burkhardt

Music by Perera Elsewhere, Entropy Worship, Luke Howard

This is the most artistic piece of the evening. The dancers appear in gold corsets covered in gold body paint from head to toe. It’s two men and one woman in an otherworldly place that feels like Atlantis. Towards the end, one man pulls the woman away and dances just with her, as the other longingly looks on while somber music plays. It’s a very modern piece that is very well executed and stands out as a great work of art.

To learn more about the Repertory Dance Theatre, visit their website here.

Quinn Delaney

Results! World of Dance Chicago at the Copernicus Center (November 18, 2018)

Team Division Winners:

1st Place: Puzzle League – Chicago, IL

The crew comes out all wearing white T-shirts and berets. Is it a tribute to Picasso? No, it’s a tribute to the musical artist Masego.

2nd Place: Elevated – Cleveland, OH

This group comes out in all red jumpsuits. As soon as the music starts, they are all in sync. To add to the prison theme, they use chains to walk some of the dancers like dogs as they sing “let your chains hang low” to the tune of “Do Your Ears Hang Low”.

3rd Place: SueMo Dance Company

Crowd Favorite: The Puzzle League

Best Costume: The Effect

Best Theme: Elite Family Dance

Other Highlights:

 Ricky Cole – The Host

Ricky is a charming host who kept things running smoothly. He was very fun to start, but his comments did get a bit repetitive towards the end.

 Midwest Edge Dance Academy – Aurora, IL

 This group of 11 to 15 year olds is very impressive. They bring a strong energy and very early on the audience goes wild. This is especially true when some of the youngest dancers step to the front for some fierce solos.

Boom Crack! Dance Company – Chicago, IL

Wow, this group is huge! They can barely all fit just standing on the stage. The choreography is then fantastic as they display great energy and avoid crashing into each other. It’s like a giant flash mob.

Kyle Van Newkirk

Improvised tap dancing with a drummer playing on a full kit is an interesting idea.

JET

 

Watching this guy move is mystifying. He’s so smooth and precise like a finely tuned machine. It’s like watching a stop motion animation movie in real life.

Jaja and Beast

The cutest dance of the night is this one as they dance to “Lego House” by Ed Sheeran dressed as Lego people. It’s a great interpretation of the song and oh so sweet as they express love for each other.

Quinn Delaney

Burlesque and Comedy: Kiss Kiss Cabaret at The Den Theatre (Through December 29, 2018)

On September 11th, Uptown Underground closed its doors due to a dispute with the landlord. Thus, Kiss Kiss Cabaret was forced on hiatus until it could find a new space. They have signed on to call The Den Theatre home until at least the end of the year.

The show is different every night and thus the experience is different each time. Tonight is hosted by MsPixy who is an amusing host. She introduces each performer with genuine enthusiasm and then afterwards joy is clearly visible in her reaction. She also sings “Cabaret” midway through the show to the audience’s delight.

There is just one comedy performance tonight. It is by Velma Claptrap. She sings a song that is like the 12 Days of Christmas, but about a pussy ‘cat’, double entendre intended. The crowd eats it up.

Tonight’s lineup of burlesque consists of Vivi Valens, Elle Rioux, Crème Yvette, Faye LaVerte, and Aurora Rocket. Here are the three highlights of the night:

Elle Rioux closes the first half dancing to “The Girl’s Attractive”. Her passion and dedication to the art of burlesque is reflected in her performance as each movement is perfectly crafted to align with the music. It’s an audience favorite!”

Faye LaVerte dances to “Son of a Preacher Man” in an ironic and devilishly delightful fashion.

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Photos by Kyle Bice

Aurora Rocket dances to “It’s My Party” in a very funny piece where she starts off very sad, but eventually cheers up!

They are finalizing some new group acts, choreographed specifically to take advantage of the Den Theater’s layout, that will debut this week! Also, at 7pm and 7:30pm, this is a rare opportunity to see burlesque before 10pm in Chicago.

Get tickets now for Kiss Kiss Cabaret through December 29th at the Den Theatre!

Cost of a ticket: $27
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It!
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

So You Think You Can Dance Live 2018 at the Chicago Theatre (October 29, 2018)

Just like on the TV show, So You Think You Can Dance, the dances are flashy, energetic, and athletic. However, also like the show, the dances are very short. When you start getting into a dance after about a minute, it ends and the next song begins. It’s like eating a bunch of candy for dinner. It’s short and sweet, but it’s not a full meal. For the younger fans with shorter attention spans, this is just right. For adults looking for more depth, it won’t be found here.

Get tickets now for the rest of tour through December 9th.

Quinn Delaney