PRE-View: Ballet Now: Chicago Repertory Ballet and Elements Ballet at Studio5
Not to give the story away, but we find out later in this PRE-View that the idea for Ballet Now came from Béa Rashid, whose well-known support for independent dance in Chicago can be as creative as it is determined.
On Saturday, May 12 at 8pm Evanston’s excellent new dance and music venue Studio5 will present an evening called Ballet Now — a joint performance of two of the Chicago dance scene’s most imaginative and convincing independent contemporary ballet companies. Studio5 is the performance venue that Béa Rashid and Steve Rashid created as part of the Dance Center Evanston complex just north of Chicago, largely in order to create a first class venue for independent dance and music events. Not to give the story away, but we find out later in this PRE-View that the idea for Ballet Now came from Béa Rashid, whose well-known support for independent dance in Chicago can be as creative as it is determined. In this case, Studio5 is bringing together for one concert a promising pair of companies, in what seems like such a good idea it’s surprising it doesn’t happen more often.
Chicago Repertory Ballet’s recent Modern Motions performance at the Athenaeum theatre was a true landmark for the company, almost a ritual of arrival. It was a like a motion picture of the realization of Artistic Director Wade Schaaf’s five-year vision to develop a uniquely voiced and thoroughly engaging contemporary ballet company. Elements Ballet, under the direction of Artistic Director Mike Gosney, has been a creative and respected presence for years, and has continued to explore its own voice and vocabulary.
Béa wanted to present what’s happening in the contemporary ballet scene in Chicago now, what Chicago’s ballet voice is,
We asked CRB’s Wade Schaaf to tell us a little about Ballet Now and here’s what he told us:
Johnny Nevin: Can you tell us a little about how Ballet Now came to be, and about what Chicago Repertory Ballet will be performing at Studio5?
Wade Schaaf: The incubation process was really very simple, Béa called me on the phone and said, “How would you like to do a show?” She said that she would like to put Chicago Repertory Ballet and Elements Ballet together, so she had a few dates, and we and Elements Ballet both said “Yes!” Kind of the point of the show, from what I understand, was that Béa wanted to present what’s happening in the contemporary ballet scene in Chicago now, what Chicago’s ballet voice is,
We’re performing three pieces, two of which we did in our Modern Motions program. We’ll be doing Closing by Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye and my own Grand Pianola Music: On the Dominant Divide. The third piece is a duet that I choreographed a couple of years ago, called Duet(2). I love making duets, and I’ve made a lot of duets for random purposes, so I did one I called Duet(1) and now Duet(2), and I assume I’m just going to keep going.
Johnny: Can you give us a little introduction to Elements Ballet?
… now we can re-express what this classical form of dance is, but from a new perspective
Wade: Ballet has traditionally been so bound by form and rules and structure, and I think that one of the things that’s most exciting now in contemporary ballet is that we can re-express that. We’ve come so far away from that with modern dance, and now we can re-express what this classical form of dance is, but from a new perspective. One of the things that is most interesting about the work that Elements is doing is precisely this. How they’re expressing ballet in their individual voice, and how Mike is exploring his own self-expression in his choreography. One of the tenants of Elements Ballet is this idea of ballet that stems from the four elements, and that really informs how a lot of the choreography ends up, which makes for a very interesting exploration.
Studio5 presents Ballet Now: Chicago Repertory Ballet and Elements Ballet on Saturday, May 12 at 8pm. Studio5 is located at 1934 Dempster Street, Evanston, Illinois 60202 in the Dance Center Evanston complex. (map) Tickets are available online from BrownPaperTickets.
PHOTOS: (from top): Ballet Now (Courtesy of Chicago Repertory Ballet • Chicago Repertory Ballet’s Miriam-Rose LeDuc and Django Allegretti (Photo by Topher Alexander) • Chicago Repertory Ballet’s Michelle Meltzer, Marco Clemente, Django Allegretti (Photo by Topher Alexander) • Chicago Repertory Ballet’s Miriam Rose LeDuc and Django Allegretti (Photo by Topher Alexander) • Chicago Repertory Ballet’s Jacqueline Stewart and Company (Photo by Topher Alexander)