Noumenon Dance Ensemble was founded in 2014, and since then the company has worked steadily to increase their impact on, and their outreach to, the community they are part of as the resident company at Dance Avondale. They are especially dedicated to their "mission to elevate female dance artists", and at their Spring Preview (Wednesday, April 18 at 7:30pm at Chicago's Links Hall), they will present works by choreographers Kristi Andarcia, Kristi Licera and Artistic Director Alia Montijo, along with guest dance company South Chicago Dance Theater. We asked Alia to tell us more about this unique company and their dedication to a very positive, proactive view of the art of dance. Here's what she shared with us:
Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre is not quite like anything else that we can think of. It's certainly a Dance Company, and by any standard an excellent one, and the Company has attracted an astonishing group of superb dance artists. That's only part of Cerqua Rivera, thought; CRDT is also a fearlessly imaginative musical ensemble. Led by Joe Cerqua, there is a musical depth to CRDT that fully balances the choreographic depth brought by Artistic Director (and along with Cerqua, one of Cerqua's co-founders) Wilfredo Rivera. To get us ready for their Company Showcase and Sneak Preview on Thursday, April 17 (at Old Town School of Folk Music's Szold Hall), we asked both Artistic Director Wilfredo Rivera and CRDT Executive Director to give us an even more inside look at how Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre looks at their world. Here we go:
Young Steinway Artist Thomas Nickell will be performing at Chicago's Garfield Park Conservatory with The Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago on Saturday, April 14. The concert is at noon, part of the Conservatory's beautiful Music Under Glass Series, and will feature Nickell with OSC in Liszt's Totentanz. Nickell will also perform some of his original compositions for solo piano. We asked Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago Music Director Mina Zikri to tell us a little more about the concerts, and here's what he told us:
It adds another dimension to choreography, and an extra degree of anticipation, when a choreographer imagines an especially intriguing context for their work. Gustavo Ramírez Sansano has always brought an imaginative boldness to the way he conceives of creating dance, but in his World Premiere of Espíritus Gemelos for Ballet Hispánico's New York Season (April 10-15 at The Joyce), he does so in an especially engaging way. We asked Gustavo if he could share some of his process, his inspiration, and his experience in creating the work for Ballet Hispánico. Here's what he told us:
There are a lot of stories in this story. There's a story about being a choreographer -- how to become one, and what it's like to be one. Taylor Mitchell is unusually eloquent in his movement vocabulary, and just as much so in sharing his always-carefully-constructed perspective, so when we heard that his first major professional dance work, Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours was also going to be his most recent dance work, we thought it would be a good time to hear more about his journey. There's another story in this story about being a dance company. The Big Muddy Dance Company in St. Louis is performing Meet Me In ... (on Friday, April 6 at 8pm and Saturday, April 7 at 2pm) at St. Louis' Grandel Theatre. Meet Me In ... is about Big Muddy's hometown of St. Louis, about its roots and heritage and its great icons. It's a program that will include work by Artistic Director Brian Enos, world-renowned choreographer Robyn Mineko Williams, company dancer Robert Poe, and Taylor Mitchell, which gets us back to that first story.
Everybody knows that behind the stage, there's a completely different world called backstage, where all kinds of professionals do all kinds of work to make what happens on stage be the best it can possibly be. In the multifaceted universe of Chicago dance, there's another scene behind the scene backstage, where other professionals do all kinds of other work to help the Chicago dance scene be the best it can be. One of the most noteworthy of these back of backstage scenes is See Chicago Dance. Heather Hartley is the Executive Director of See Chicago Dance, and we asked her to give us a better understanding about some of the many things that make this organization so valuable and so unique. It makes for a fascinating set of stories -- there's a lot happening in this scene behind the scene. Here's what Heather told us:
On Saturday, April 7, the audience for Visceral Dance Chicago's SpringFive performance will see choreographer Kevin O'Day's latest work, the World Premier of "A Fine Line", and there wasn't much time between when (a) we heard about this and (b) we knew we wanted to hear more about this. So we reached out to Kevin and learned all kinds of interesting things about "A Fine Line", about working with Visceral, and about Kevin O'Day's rich and humane understanding of the art of dance, and for that matter, the art of understanding. Here's what he told us:
Here's some good news -- Chicago Repertory Ballet will present an evening of four World Premieres in their Modern Motions program at the Athenaeum Theatre on Friday April 6th and Saturday April 7th, with both of the performances at 8pm. Modern Motions looks to be very much in keeping with Artistic Director and Founder Wade Schaaf's original vision for the Company, and that's certainly good news too. In Modern Motions, the Company gives voice to four very different, very talented movement designers. We asked Wade to give us a little more detail about Modern Motions, and here's what he told us:
Manuel Vignoulle's ability to create intensely engaging choreography is something that a lot of people in the dance world have known about for a while now. Not surprisingly though, his choreography gets even more attention now, because last November, his work Black and White was awarded the 2017 Choreography Festival Grand Prize Award at the McCallum Theatre Choreography Festival.
There are so many interwoven dimensions to Alejandro Cerrudo's creativity that we just knew we had to get a better look at them. One way to do that would be to go see Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's "An Evening of Alejandro Cerrudo" at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre, and the other, while we're waiting to do that, would be to ask Alejandro to tell us a little more about what we'll see. Here's what he told us: