Category Archives: Dance Review

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

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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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

Mass Appeal! Giordano Dance Fall Series at the Harris Theatre (October 26, 2018)

Sidecar (2004)

Choreography: Mark Swanhart

In this piece, one male dancer is chasing after the girl he desires as “Only You (And You Alone)” plays. Other girls come to him, but he just throws them aside. It’s a very fun and playful dance and a great way to open the night.

Loose Cannon (2006)

Choreography: Jon Lehrer

The performers are all dancing in their white underwear. The music is beautiful and it feels like a dream. To match the classical music, they use many ballet moves showcasing their talents in another genre. Some humor is thrown in as well adding to its light touch.

JOLT (2012)

Choreography: Autumn Eckman

All the dancers are excitedly drinking out of mugs. What are they drinking? Alcohol, coffee, or maybe Jolt Cola? It gives them all a boost of energy and they proceed to dance very frenetically. At one point, they run across the stage in a single file line towards a light offstage. It’s a great visual as the bright white light contrasts with their black outfits.

SOUL (World Premire)

Choreography: 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. (By the way, check back in a few days to see our review of So You Think You Can Dance Live). 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: $65
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It!

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

Catch Giordano Dance back at the Harris Theatre on March 22 and 23 in 2019!

Quinn Delaney

Artistic! Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Fall Series at Harris Theatre (September 29, 2018)

There Was Nothing – Choreographed by Movement Art Is (Jon Boogz & Lil Buck)

There was Nothing

9/26/18 4:29:38 PM Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Fall Series Technical rehearsal of THERE WAS NOTHING Jon Boogz and Lil Buck Movement Art It Is Third Coast Percussion © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2018

This piece features original poetry written and performed by Robin Sanders. “Before the planets, stars, or being, there was nothing. Until the trinity, oxygen, fuel, and heat.” It goes on to describe the creation of earth, humans, and the intertwined and complex relationship between the two in a very artistic style. As this recording plays, the dancers perform these concepts in expert fashion and fluid movement.  It’s an especially memorable moment as the dancers portray five stages of the development of man into a being standing straight up on two feet.

Third Coast Percussion create a very moody sound that is ideal for a tensely dramatic scene. For the first piece, it works perfectly. However, 80 minutes straight of this music without melody is difficult to take. Add to that fact that there is no intermission, and it’s a true test of the attention span of the audience for an art form that demands ones undivided mental and emotional presence.

There was Nothing

9/26/18 4:37:21 PM Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Fall Series Technical rehearsal of THERE WAS NOTHING Jon Boogz and Lil Buck Movement Art It Is Third Coast Percussion © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2018

Cost of a ticket: $110

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price

New Rating Scale:

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

There was Nothing

9/26/18 4:43:33 PM Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Fall Series Technical rehearsal of THERE WAS NOTHING Jon Boogz and Lil Buck Movement Art It Is Third Coast Percussion © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2018

See our review of a Lil’ Buck performance here.

Quinn Delaney

Delightful! Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival at Ruth Page Center for the Arts (September 28, 2018)

The Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival takes place over two weekends at the end of September at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. 16 dance groups perform during the festival. Here is a selection of the best performances from the second weekend.

Aerial Dance Chicago – Blackbird (excerpt)

Aerial Dance Chicago by Michelle Reid

Two pairs of silks hang from the ceiling. The aerialists use these to swing across the stage, climb to the ceiling, and flip upside down. It’s an impressive display of athleticism and grace. On an interesting note, when Ok Go needed to find dancers for their video “Upside Down & Inside Out”, they needed performers who could move in zero gravity. So, they chose aerialists who are used to moving their bodies in the air.

james morrow /  The Movement  – / /

James Morrow 1 by Sara Davis

This solo performance is raw. The Lord’s prayer is being recited as Morrow moves across the stage. He is exploring his relationship with both his Christian upbringing and the Chicago House community in a truly emotional fashion.

MitchellMovement & DancersOut of Pocket

This one is absolutely hilarious. It begins with four dancers portraying slot machines with the sounds of a casino playing. Later on they play “Money, Money, Money” by ABBA as they throw money around the stage. The audience is absolutely delighted. Lastly, “Money” featuring Alan Cumming and the Cabaret Ensemble from the 1998 Broadway Cast Recording plays as they dance around the stage to complete this medley of money related dances. It’s not easy to make dance funny, but this group pulls it off with style.

See our post about the first weekend here.

Cost of a ticket: $25
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It!

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

Quinn Delaney