How in the world would you do a PRE-View of Rhythm World, Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s amazing annual festival of tap and percussive dance? If you’ve been to see us at DancerMusic before, you know that our PRE-Views are here to tell the world about events that are interesting, exciting, entertaining and cool, so that everybody can go see them and not miss them. Rhythm World is all of that for sure, so what’s the problem?
The problem is that Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Rhythm World is like the big, long, eighty-car freight train of cool, entertaining, interesting and exciting. For one week each summer, many of the best tap and percussive dance artists and teachers on the planet come to Chicago — they’ve been doing it for twenty-eight years — and put on a whirlwind of classes and performances. The idea is that there’s so much, you can design your own Rhythm World, combining classes and performances across an inspiring spectrum of the percussive dance art. So how exactly could you do a PRE-View of all of that?
Here’s how: we redesigned our PRE-View especially for Rhythm World. Usually we would find someone like Lane Alexander, the Founder and Director of Chicago Human Rhythm Project, to tell us what to expect, in a two question interview. For Rhythm World, though, we’ve changed the format to one question and our first ever Speed Round, which Lane very generously agreed to go along with. Here’s what he told us:
like many aspects of American culture – we borrow from the old world, but make our own, new world as we go along!
Johnny Nevin: You’ve seen each of Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s now legendary Rhythm World festivals. Can you tell us a little about what the idea of the Festival is?
Lane Alexander: Rhythm World is a week long performance and education festival featuring the best American tap dancers from around the world. The performative elements of the festival are in and out of the bounds of formal European theatrical traditions – and like many aspects of American culture – we borrow from the old world, but make our own, new world as we go along! The thread that holds it all together is a deep and irreverant adherence to the idea that a master may dance beside a novice and still learn – a novice may dance beside a master and be welcome and heard.
a master may dance beside a novice and still learn – a novice may dance beside a master and be welcome and heard.
And Now, the Speed Round:
Johnny: One at a time, let’s go through some of the many highlights people can choose from at Rhythm World. First up, Monday, June 16th, 7:30pm at The Jazz Showcase (806 S Plymouth Ct, Chicago, IL 60605)
Lane: A night of improvisation at the historic Jazz Showcase – tap at its most elemental – pure rhythm – rhythmic combustion! SOLD OUT.
Johnny: Tuesday, July 17, 6:30pm and 8pm, the Improv Tournament and Student Showcase at the Fine Arts Building (410 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago IL 60605)
Lane: Our annual Improv Tournament – known in the community as a “Cutting Contest” – and the Student Showcase, which is a choreography showcase for student works in Curtiss Hall at the FIne Arts Bulding – These events are a glimpse into the future as you get to see young dancers emerging onto the scene risking everything, holding nothing back! A night in honor of two great traditions in tap – composition and improvisation!
fireworks on the ground followed by fireworks in the sky – innovation will be on full display!
Johnny: Wednesday, July 18th at Navy Pier’s Polk Bros. Performance Lawn — a free performance
Lane: New and Newer – Chicago premieres of guest companies from L.A. and New York – Jason Janas’ Co.MMIT and Charles Renato’s Renato Project – plus pre-professional youth ensembles from around the USA – fireworks on the ground followed by fireworks in the sky – innovation will be on full display!
Johnny: Thursday, July 19th?
Lane: Deep Breath.
Johnny: And then, Friday and Saturday, July 20 at 7:30pm and 21 at 7:30pm, it’s JUBA! at The Studebaker Theater in The Fine Arts Building (410 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago IL 60605)?
Lane: The One, Two Punch!
Cartier Williams’ swingin’ long-form work, ZigityBop – it’s a world of rhythm in 3 acts! It’s a deep well.
July 20 – JUBA! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance – CHRP’s Artist in Residence Dani Borak premieres a growing suite of genre-defying new works followed by a world premiere by Caleb Teicher and Sam Weber (David Bowie meets J.S. Bach), more spontaneous creation between the Eric Hochberg Trio and virtuoso soloists PLUS Cartier Williams’ swingin’ long-form work, ZigityBop – it’s a world of rhythm in 3 acts! It’s a deep well.
Chicago’s all female ensemble from the late 90’s reassembles and reimagines old and new works that challenge the artists to the core of their expressive power.
July 21 – JUBA! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance – A similar structure to July 20 with more premiere’s and improvisation by Dani Borak and a different set of world renowned guest artists and the capstone of the festival – RHYTHM Iss . . . RETURNS. Chicago’s all female ensemble from the late 90’s reassembles and reimagines old and new works that challenge the artists to the core of their expressive power.
Chicago Human Rhythm Projects Rhythm World runs from July 16th through July 22nd, at locations around Chicago. There’s a treasure chest of information about the programs available online from chicagotap.org. Tickets for JUBA! on Friday, July 21st at 7:30pm at Chicago’s Studebaker Theater are available online from eventbrite here. Tickets for JUBA! on Saturday, July 22nd at 7:30pm at Chicago’s Studebaker Theater are available online from eventbrite here.