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:
Some of the best pieces of dance choreography are those that successfully use movement to paint a living visualization of the accompanying sound design. The nature of these choreographic works highlight the sound in a way that can allow an audience to experience a familiar piece of music with fresh ears. Now, imagine having the same relationship between a dance work and a painting, where each reveals something new about the other. For Still Inspired(?) Executive Director Laura Thurston, imagining is not necessary - she's already curated and staged four seasons of Still Inspired(?), which pairs a Chicago-based visual artist with up-and-coming choreographers from the community.DancerMusic's Kristi Licera caught up with Laura while she prepares for Still Inspired(?): Live Creations, which features live drawing inspired by live music and dance improvisation. Read on to see how the collaborative efforts of Still Inspired(?) have created a circle of inspiration, as well as what Laura is up to to expand it:
Bebe Miller's "In A Rhythm", will be performed by Bebe Miller Company April 5,6, & 7 at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago. The Company's performances mark the end of the Process v. Product Festival, which invited "choreographers, dancers, students of dance and audiences to consider and reflect on ideas around how and why the creation, practice and witness of dancing can be more than a product for spectators." DancerMusic's Kristi Licera caught up with Bebe to find out more about "In A Rhythm", as well as more about the importance of sharing the creative process. Read on to see why Bebe Miller Company is the perfect fit for the end of this festival:
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.
When it comes to dance, Shannon Alvis has pretty much done it all! Not only has she danced with two of the most renowned companies in the world - Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) and Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT), she was also a recipient of the Joffrey Ballet’s Winning Work’s Choreographic Competition in 2017. I got the chance to chat with Shannon about some of her most pivotal moments in her career as well as what she is working on next. Here is what she told us: