When that happens though, the separate dynamics of each part become invisible, except for the compelling enchantment of a night on stage.
Balance is important in dance. Of course everybody knows that, but it’s even more important than most people realize. Anybody can see what happens when a dancer is perfectly balanced in a graceful moment on stage, but what you don’t see is what happens when everything gets moving, moving fast. Then the balance of motion and counter-motion is invisible, except as a perception of speed and grace; the interpersonal balance of each dancer with every other is unseen, except for the intoxicating impact of high-speed harmony. The more powerful the movement, the more fundamental balance becomes.
That may be even more true off stage, in balancing the complicated and powerful dynamics that come together to make a great dance company. All of the different forces that need to converge, each with their own momentum, must somehow be choreographed into a single trajectory, a complete and unified creation. When that happens though, the separate dynamics of each part become invisible, except for the compelling enchantment of a night on stage.
When Visceral Dance presents their Fall Engagement (Friday and Saturday, October 4th and 5th at 8pm) at Chicago’s legendary Athenaeum Theatre, their audience will see the way that the dynamic balance of a constantly moving organization can fill a stage with dance. Since founding Visceral Dance in the fall of 2013, Artistic Director Nick Pupillo has created eleven signature works for the company, but this has been balanced by creations by a list of guest choreographers that any company would envy. Visceral’s rapid rise to national recognition — the Company was named one of Dance Magazines 25 to Watch in 2015, just sixteen months after they were founded — has always been balanced by their constant focus on connection to their community. The Visceral Dance center is one of the most active centers of dance in the city, and the company has always been explicit about their focus on the connection of artist with audience.
We asked Visceral Dance Executive Director Dawn Stanislaw to share a little of what goes into putting all of this together, keeping it all in balance, and keeping it moving forward. Here’s what she told us:
Their bond as a company formed quickly and their connection is already apparent in their repertoire for this program.
Johnny Nevin: Every great dance company reflects the creative spirit of its dancers, and this has always been very much true of Visceral Dance. With eight new artists joining Caitlin Cucchiara, Braeden Barnes and Meredith Harrill, can you tell us about the way that a new group of dancers influences and inspires the direction of the Company?
Dawn Stanislaw: Finding individuals that capture the spirit of Visceral Dance Chicago is a challenge each new season. Nick Pupillo focuses on finding technically proficient dancers that are diverse in their movement while each holding something special and unique.
Having veterans Caitlin, Braeden and Meredith’s energy and passion for dance and the work Visceral does combined with their experience and commitment to Visceral has inspired this new group of dancers. Their bond as a company formed quickly and their connection is already apparent in their repertoire for this program.
The Athenaeum Theater is a wonderful venue with a great sized stage and a house that feels close and personal. The work of Visceral will present well in this setting
Johnny: One of the greatest challenges that an independent dance company faces in presenting a season is the choice of where to perform. Chicago is fortunate to have a number of important dance venues, and the Athenaeum has always been one of the very best places in the city to see concert dance. It’s a legendary venue, more than a hundred years old, but managed in a very forward looking way by an unusually audience-and-artist-friendly management. Can you tell us how the choice to perform at the Athenaeum came about, and more generally, how such practical issues can contribute to the creative direction of a company like Visceral Dance?
Dawn: Throughout Nick’s dance career, he has performed many times at the Athenaeum Theatre and later presented various works of his own choreography through Dance Chicago. He also showcases his youth pre-professional company, Visceral Studio Company each year in this theater. Working with Allan and Jeff along with Kevin in Production has been a positive experience for Nick.
The timing was right this season to present the main company. The Athenaeum Theater is a wonderful venue with a great sized stage and a house that feels close and personal. The work of Visceral will present well in this setting – focusing on our mission of connecting with our audiences. The location is convenient to our home base of Visceral Dance Center and our Fall Engagement will bring us more exposure within our community and the neighborhoods Visceral serves.
Visceral Dance presents its Fall Engagement at Chicago’s Athenaeum Theatre (2936 N Southport Ave
Chicago, IL 60657) on Friday, October 4th at 8pm and on Saturday, October 5th at 8pm. Visceral’s Athenaeum Theatre performance includes four of Artistic Director Nick Pupillo’s iconic works, Impetere, She Three, Synapse, along with a his work KEEP “re-envisioned in a new form and perspective”, and features the World Premier of Homage by Spanish choreographer Mónica Cervantes. Tickets are available online from the Athenaeum Theatre or buy calling the Athenaeum Box Office at 773 935-6875.