Darryl Joseph is an independent producer with an intricately careful sense of how to put beats together. Originally from New York and now living in Chicago, his solo tracks are often sparse and electronic, and always elegantly designed. He's found himself more and more in demand as more and more people have heard his work, not only as a sought-after collaborator for vocalists, but also for choreographers. His gift for enthusiastic collaboration as much as for composition has led to recent projects with Stephanie Martinez, Christopher Huggins, Nick Pupillo, and now with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Choreographic Fellow Rena Butler. We asked Darryl about a lot of different things --- composing for dance, working with Rena Butler, what's up next for him, and more -- and here's what he told us.
"Who looks out from my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking." This is an excerpt from 13th century Islamic scholar and poet, Rumi. These words put a whole new spin on soul searching by asking us to look deeper into ourselves and examine what the soul is truly made of. It's also a line of poetry included in the sound design for the upcoming world premiere of Al Nafs, choreographed by hip hop artist extraordinaire Amirah Sackett for the diverse, athletic, and ever-enticing dancers of Chicago Dance Crash. Leading up to its premiere at Moraine Valley Community College on November 17, Amirah and Dance Crash spent months in the studio creating, crafting, and contemplating the ways in which emotions like anger and sadness can be transcended to reach a place of love. DancerMusic Dance Editor and Chicago Dance Crash company artist Kristi Licera spent time with Amirah outside of the studio to learn more and share this journey of creation and self-discovery. Here's what Amirah told us:
Dance can be intimidating for a new audience member. The abstract nature of the art can cause confusion, ambiance in the theater can be stiflingly formal, and if that were not enough, there is the inconvenience of leaving your ever-so-comfortable home to get there in the first place. So why is it worth it to become a firsthand consumer of dance? What makes it all worth it? If you speak to dance audience regulars, they will each have their own answer, and that's the beauty of it. An audience may see the same performance, but each person has the opportunity to
"Under the direction of Ashley Deran and Emily Loar, Project Bound is a tri-focal dance collaboration aiming to foster community engagement, dance/technology experimentation, and socially conscious performance." There's no better proof of their statement than to see the artists of Project Bound Dance in Separate Thoughts, Shared Space. Fostering community engagement? Bound is directly engaging the dance community by splitting the performance with Esoteric Dance Project. Furthermore, the split bill encourages the audiences of each respective company to come together, giving many the opportunity to see artists and works they may not have been exposed to otherwise. Dance/technology experimentation? The evening's program features the culmination of this year's One Hour Project, where Bound brings together dancer, choreographer, and videographer for 60 minutes to create a 60 second dance film. Socially conscious performance? You'll have to read on get the answer to this one, especially since DancerMusic's Kristi Licera got the answer to that question and more when she caught up with Project Bound Co-Artistic Directors Ashley Deran and Emily Loar. Here's what they told us:
Creating a masterpiece can take a lifetime. There is a certain process in crafting each detail that cannot be rushed, but in a world of limited time and tight funding, modern day artists have been forced to find creative ways to make the best of their resources. This is especially true in the world of dance, where choreographers are tasked not only with making movement to communicate their stories and ideas, but must also make considerations for the perfect musical score, costuming, and lighting and stage design. So how do dance makers begin to approach the task of bringing all
Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre has been growing like a wildflower in the past few years. They have established a unique and resonant identity that has captivated Chicago dance audiences. With such uninhibited growth, the advent of new roles within the company, such as a Rehearsal Director, became paramount. That is where our friend Brennen Renteria comes in, a veteran company member with CRDT and now Rehearsal Director too. Both on stage and off he is leading the company into their Fall concert series, “My Past / Our Present”, which will be performed in three Chicago locations this October (Oct 5-6 at 8pm at Studio5, Oct 19-20 at 7pm at Links Hall, and Oct 27 at 7:30pm at The Logan Center. The series features some very exciting collaborations, and a new addition to the American Catracho suite by artistic directors Wilfredo Rivera and Joe Cerqua. The catracho spirit is very much alive in CRDT’s Rehearsal Director Brennen Renteria. He shared with DancerMusic some beautiful insights into his role with the company and why he has so much love and pride for the work he does with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre. Here's what he told us:
Lou Conte not only has a name that is important to the Chicago dance community, but as the founder of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago he is someone who has changed the history of contemporary dance. He created what is today an internationally acclaimed company that dancers from all over the world dream of being a part of. I myself was one of those young dancers, and Lou helped make my dream come true by bringing me into the company just before he stepped down as director in 2000. Lou will forever hold a special place in my heart, and not only by having initiated my entire dance career. With his values and the standards to which he held his work and company, he helped shape who I am today as a dancer, artist, and now choreographer. Lou is being honored at Chicago's Dance for Life this year, and when I was given the opportunity to talk with him and ask him a few questions, I couldn't help but be thrilled at the thought. Here's what he shared with me:
In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Ballet Chicago’s Studio Company, Chaves was commissioned to create Ascension. This romantically haunting pas de deux features an original score for piano and cello by Josephine Lee, who will join the dancers onstage with cellist Meena Cho this Saturday at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance.