"Dance matters. Dance is integral to our collective cultures. It is a core human expression that transforms us, generates wonder, and furthers honest connection and understanding." That would be a great beginning for just about anything that has anything to do with dance. It's the first of the Core Beliefs that you find if you read about Chicago Dancemakers Forum at their site ChicagoDancemakers.org, so it's a great beginning to understanding what this unique organization does, and more importantly, what they keep succeeding in doing. We asked Chicago Dancemakers Forum Executive Director Ginger Farley to let us in on some more of this very encouraging, fifteen-year-long story, and especially about Elevate Chicago Dance, their all-day performance celebration October 21st at The Chicago Cultural Center. Here's what she 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
These days, it seems that you have all the entertainment you need at your fingertips. Wherever you go, you are sure to see people enraptured by their mobile devices, scrolling through videos on social media or streaming their favorite TV shows. There is no shortage of convenient entertainment, which certainly creates problems for those involved in the performing arts. So, how do you begin to compete with convenience and draw an audience into the theater? If you are Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, you have found a solution – create a unique concert dance experience coupled with a live jazz band.
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:
Taylor Mitchell has a brand new work, and naturally, we wanted to hear all about it. It's called Out of Pocket, and its performance by MitchellMovement is part of Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival's second weekend of performances (Friday September 28 and Saturday September 29, both at 8PM). It's an ideal pairing; Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival brings together a rich spectrum of imaginative independent choreography each year, and Mitchell epitomizes the kind of engaging and impactful dance that HCCDF was founded to present. We asked Taylor to let us in on more of what we'll get to see when Out of Pocket takes the stage at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, and here's what he told us:
Concert Dance is not an art form that sustains itself easily; it needs a lot of care and it needs a lot of community. See Chicago Dance is the source for a lot of both, and although we know them best for their excellent website, SeeChicagoDance.com, the Chicago based not-for-profit supports dance in many other ways as well. On Tuesday, September 25 (from 6 to 10pm at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph Street, Chicago) they're hosting their Fourth Annual Gala, a celebration of accomplishment past and future. The event will honor two important contributors to Concert Dance in Chicago; Angelique Power receives the Distinguished Service to the Dance Field Award, which recognizes "outstanding philanthropic leadership and honors someone who has made tremendous contributions to the health and vibrancy of the Chicago dance sector". Shirley Mordine, founder and artistic director of Mordine & Co. Dance Theater and founder and past director of the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, receives the Legacy Award, which honors "someone who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the field and made a momentous impact on the Chicago dance community". We asked Shirley Mordine to tell us a little more about at least some of her extraordinary accomplishments, and here's what she told us:
In choreography and in life, you might notice an old flame in passing one day and find that you’ve both matured. The spark reignites as you seize the opportunity to rediscover your connection and find more clarity and fulfillment than before. That is what Jessica Miller Tomlinson has done in her new work to be premiered at Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival on September 21st and 22nd. She gave us some insight into reigniting the flame on a decade past work. Read on to find out how it grew into a completely new piece from a deeper exploration of the same idea, plus more insights on being a Choreographer in Chicago. Here is what Jessica had to say:
Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater has been on a relentless build-up to their 2018 Fall Concert Series since last April. It's something they've been doing for years, a very carefully planned series of monthly presentations -- they call them Inside / Out --- that bring their audience, their performers, and the creators of their upcoming works together. The settings are informal but the results always informative, an engaging blend of discussion and performance. The last of the 2018 Inside / Out series takes place on Thursday, September 20th at 7pm at Chicago's Fine Arts Building, and it promises to be a great one. The subject is a new work called The Process Takes a Lifetime, an exceptionally rich and well-thought out story by choreographer Joshua Ishmon and --- in keeping with Cerqua Rivera's trademark practice of pairing great choreographers with great composers --- an original score by Pharez Whitted. Of course DancerMusic wanted to find out more, so we asked Joshua Ishmon if he would give us some insight into The Process Takes a Lifetime. Here's what he told us:
It's great to be bold and imaginative, but it's never easy to keep being bold and imaginative, at least not for long. Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival --- the bold and imaginative two-weekend festival that Nicole Gifford and Melissa Mallinson produce -- has managed to be imaginative, bold and successful every year for eight full years. On September 21, 2018 when HCCDF 2018 opens at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts in Chicago, that will make it nine. It sounds like quite an accomplishment, and it certainly is, and when you find out more about it, about the many dance artists who get the chance to present their own imaginative visions, about the audiences who get to share in them, it starts sounding like even more of an accomplishment. Naturally, we wanted to find out more about it, so we reached out to Nicole Gifford. Here's what she told us:
'Accomplished' is one way that you can describe classical pianist Joyce Yang, and another way that you can describe her is 'widely acclaimed', but there's something you'll want to keep in mind about both of those terms. When you apply them to Joyce Yang, they describe a process more than a picture, because Joyce Yang accomplishes so much, so often, that she gets more widely acclaimed all the time. This year, for example, she and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet have been very widely acclaimed (including by a number of sold-out audiences) for their performances of ASFB's An Evening With Joyce Yang. It's a program of three ballets in which Yang performs live on stage with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, and they will be performing it at The Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe on September 1st. One of Yang's less well-known accomplishments is a beautifully composed article that she wrote entitled "Music and Movement", in which she shares a vivid series of insights into the mysterious interaction of dance and music, insights that she discovered and explored in the process of working with ASFB and Elo. "Music and Movement" first appeared at pianistjoyceyang.com, and now, Joyce Yang has generously allowed DancerMusic to reprint it here in its entirety. Here it is, don't miss it.