Category Archives: Dance Review

Amazing! The Joffrey Ballet Presents Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Auditorium Theatre (May 3, 2018)

Although it shares its name with one of Shakespeare’s plays, it has nothing to do with the bard. This is a full ballet choreographed by Alexander Ekman about Sweden’s ode to the summer solstice. The world premiere was on April 15, 2015, at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm. These performances are its North American premier.

To start, a man is sleeping on the far left of the stage in a small bed as the audience files in to their seats. When showtime arrives, an alarm goes off. After a few seconds, he reaches out and turns off the alarm. But he continues to lie there, not wanting to get up. This is a fun introduction that sets the scene for a fun show. Soon thereafter, he joins the festivities of the town. Everyone is celebrating the arrival of summer in a bunch of hay that covers the entire stage. They are throwing it around all in sync. It’s quite a spectacle to see. Later on, a huge group comes out all underneath a square canopy tent. Wherever the canopy goes, they all run to stay underneath it in a very joyful manner.

This whole scene is very reminiscent of the choreographer’s previous piece created for the Joffrey, “Joy”. It was part of Global Visionaries last May. In both pieces, Alexander Ekman mixes comedy and dancing expertly. He also is able to display happiness and delight so well on stage. Everyone has a smile on their face, from the audience to the stage.

Midsummer 5_Photo by Cheryl Mann

Photos by Cheryl Mann

The second half also begins with the man sleeping in the bed. However, this time, we explore his dreams. It’s a crazy and strange dream filled with headless dancers, giant fish, and floating tables. It’s wild, it’s bizarre, it’s modern ballet!

The singing by Anna von Hausswolff is fantastic. Her voice is so powerful and emotional. She is very well known in Sweden. Her album, Singing from the Grave was a top five hit on the Swedish albums chart. In addition, the dancers are phenomenal. Every single one of them is so graceful and talented and they all come together with style in this amazing production.

Get tickets now for Midsummer Night’s Dream through Sunday!

Quinn Delaney

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So Fun! Matter Dance Company Presents Emerge at The Den Theatre (April 12, 2018)

It’s opening night for Matter Dance Company’s Emerge and the theatre is packed. A buzz is in the air in the intimate Den Theatre space. Eighteen pieces are listed on the program. Here are a few of the best:

Hide & Seek

Choreography: Ali Keirn & Lauren Nolan

Music: “Tap Dance” by Octave Minds featuring Chance The Rapper

This is such a fun song and the dance matches the joy. The dancers are all smiles as they tap dance across the stage and the audience eats it up! It’s infectious!

 

Quarter Past Three

Choreography and Dancing: Michelle Chorski and Patrick Justin

Music: “What You Do” by James Gillespie

The title is pulled directly from the lyrics. Also, the dancing matches the song perfectly. The couple displays a complex relationship as Gillespie sings “When the world turns upside down, you should blame it on me.” It’s a beautiful piece that is met with thunderous applause at its finale.

 

Outcry

Choreography: Carisa Barreca and Niki Mahon

Music: “Ra” by Nathan Lanier

 

The music sounds like a fierce battle. The dancers are wearing war paint and holding thick sticks. The performance looks like soldiers preparing for war. It’s very well choreographed. Also, it is reminiscent of an Indian style of dancing called Raas.

Unseen

Choreography: Patrick Justin

Music: Better Tomorrow by Tina Guo

In this piece, the two dancers are wearing blindfolds. They rely on touch alone to know where their partner is located. It’s a very cool concept and it is executed skillfully.

michaelcourier-mdc-emerge-2018-5x7-2378_preview

All Photos by Micheal Courier

Flicker

Choreography: Carisa Barreca

Music:  Sky Mubs

In this performance, all the lighting comes from flashlights that the dancers are holding. They turn the flashlights on and off, spotlighting the dancing with light from all directions. It’s a complex piece of choreography, and the dancers met the challenge impressively.

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I’m Me

Choreography: Carisa Barreca

Music: “Soy Yo” by Comba Estereo

This is a very goofy and fun song and they came up with a very fun idea. The dancers wear mannequin heads on top of their heads and cover up their faces. It looks like they all have very long necks and small heads. It’s quite a sight to see.

Listen to the full soundtrack here:

Get tickets now for Emerge through April 21st!

Quinn Delaney

 

Sleek! Hubbard Street Dance : An Evening of Alejandro Cerrudo at The Auditorium Theatre (March 24, 2018)

Off Screen

This is the first time that Alejandro Cerrudo has used text, rather than music, as inspiration for a dance. One of the dancers is spotlighted up in a box seat as she powerfully delivers a theatric monologue by philosopher, Alan Watts, about reality and dreams. The following performance involves them interacting with a large billowing silk sheet. Finally, to conclude the piece, another dancers comes out and delivers a solo lecture. It ends with the following line: “If you know, … the ego doesn’t really doesn’t exist, then it won’t go to your head too badly if you wake up and discover that you are God.”

Off Screen

3/22/18 2:00:43 PM — Chicago, IL Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Spring Season “Off Screen” by Alejandro Cerrudo © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2018

Silent Ghost

This piece features a trio of hauntingly beautiful songs accompanied by emotional and heartfelt dancing in couples. There is “For Now I am Winter” by Olafur Anolds (2016), “Familiar” by Nils Frahm (2011), and “First Watch” by King Creosote and Jon Hopkins (2011). Each of the songs transitions smoothly into the other and so do each of the dances. It’s modern, sleek, graceful, and expertly crafted.

Out of Your Mind – World Premiere

The monologue that started the “Off Screen” piece is used while the dancers perform. Later on, the song “It Starts Now” by Blond:ish plays. It contains the same text that was performed at the end of “Off Screen”. It’s an interesting way to tie together the two pieces. In addition, the philosophical nature of the words matches quite nicely with the artistic movements of the dancers and the music to create a beautiful piece of art.

HSD18322_674 Hubbard Street Silent Ghost

Quinn Delaney

Unique! Walkabout Theatre Presents The Brink! or Nobody’s Ever Kissed Me Like That at Links Hall (March 17, 2018)

The Brink is a cabaret of song and dance that is quite unique. It was created in partnership with Links Hall, Chicagos DCASE, Darmouth College/VoxFest and the Cricoteka Centre in Krakow, Poland. The European influence is very strong in its style. It shares some similarities with the Trap Door Theatre, who are known for putting on cutting edge shows from Europe. The playlist is composed of American pop and jazz standards performed in their own original style.

The instrumentation is unique as well. In addition to the vocals, there is a piano, a small drum set, and a theremin, which controls the pitch and volume based on the position of the performers hands. The performances are also sexy at times. For example, one performer sings wearing a white button down shirt without pants while water is poured over her head.

Get tickets now for The Brink! Through March 31st! It’s sure to be an experience you won’t soon forget!

TheBrink-2

Quinn Delaney

Excellent! Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre at The Auditorium Theatre (March 8, 2018)

Stack-Up (1982)

Choreography by Talley Beatty

With a song like “Faces” by Earth, Wind & Fire, it has to be a fun piece. And Alvin Ailey does not disappoint. It’s incredibly lively and vibrant with dancers in bright and colorful outfits dancing all over the stage with giant smiles on their faces. It’s like being in a 70’s dance club, disco ball, and all! There is even the guy who took way too many drugs bumbling around the stage. This is a great piece to open up the night.

 

Victoria (2017)

Choreography: Gustavo Ramirez Sansano

This is a very artistic piece. The staging is all black and white. The music is eerie. Dance can be a very abstract art, and this is the case here. It’s good to see this dance company continuing to experiment.

AAADT in Gustavo Ramirez Sansano's Victoria, photo by Christopher Duggan.

Victoria Choreography by Gustavo Ramirez Sansano Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Credit Photo: Paul Kolnik studio@paulkolnik.com nyc 212-362-7778

 

Revelations (1960)

Choreography by Alvin Ailey

 

This is a full company piece that is met with a loud applause right when it starts. It’s gospel music that plays which gives the piece a religious feel. It’s happy, sad, and beautiful. Since its premiere, it has been performed continuously around the globe and it has become the most widely seen modern dance piece in the world.

Get tickets now for Alvin Ailey through Sunday!

Quinn Delaney

See our review of Alvin Ailey from last year!

Must See! Tablao Flamenco Cordobes in Barcelona, Spain

At Tablao Flamenco Cordobes, a large team unites to bring together an intense show. There are six men (three singers, two guitarists, and one dancer) along with three women (two dancers and one singer). Why do they need so many people? Because each person performs with such passion and energy and they give everything they have for a few minutes before they need a break.

The dancing is so strong and athletic that you almost have to jump back when they stomp. It blows you away. The women are dressed in long, flowing dresses, which makes it even more impressive and visually stunning.

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The musicians are the driving force behind the action with the guitar playing being incredibly quick paced and impressive. The vocal performers are equally as talented as the singing is fierce and emotional that you can’t help but be moved.  In the small intimate space, it’s a truly immersive experience that is absolutely a must see in the heart of Barcelona.

Get tickets for Tablao Flamenco Cordobes now!

Quinn Delaney

Excellent! Rudra Experiences Presents Ghunghroo – The Sounds of Yore (28th of January, 2018)

The night begins with a video telling about the origins of Delhi which then leads into the first dance. Between each dance, the video continues with the history of this city all the way up to present day. Different forms of classical Indian dance are performed leading up to the finale, a Bollywood dance. Audience members are invited to join for this one, but only one brave soul joins them on this evening. For each dance, they wear different costumes, and they are all excellent.

Following the show, an authentic Indian Barbecue dinner is presented outside, buffet style. To start, a warm delicious tomato soup with croutons and cream. Then, the main course with fish, lamb, chicken, vegetables, rice, naan, and more. Finally, there are two excellent desserts to cap off a fantastically authentic meal.

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Get tickets now for Ghunghroo!

Quinn Delaney