What do you want to do with your life? It is a question we are asked time and time again through our childhood and at every pivotal turn in our lives. While there are many answers to the question, some of us are able to give a response that creates a vision of the future for others. Those special individuals are the ones with limitless dreams, who carry the will and determination to see those dreams through, and whose hearts bear the passion to inspire others. That is the kind of person that Vershawn Sanders-Ward is. It is clear that Vershawn’s vision of the future is limitless, her passion infectious, and her dedication as solid as her unwavering work ethic. All of this has spread beyond the studio and stage in Chicago and most recently brought Red Clay Dance Company artists to Kampala, Uganda for the “TransAtlantic Project.” This journey to Africa marked RCDC’s first international collaboration with Keiga Dance Company, and if the world premiere of their collaborative work this past November was just the beginning of what’s to come, it is more dazzling proof of Vershawn’s ability to continue to dream big and achieve something even bigger. DancerMusic’s Kristi Licera recently caught up with Vershawn to get an inside look at the product of Red Clay’s first collaboration with Keiga Dance Company, “EKILI MUNDA | What Lies Within.” Here’s what Vershawn told us:
A lot of different ideas can inspire choreography, and when designed by a great choreographer, dance can express all kinds of thoughts and concepts and emotions. But when it comes to creating a full-evening work, the idea behind the ballet has to be rich enough, embracing enough, to keep an audience leaning forward for a full evening. For their November 16th and 17th performances at St. Louis' Edison Theatre, The Big Muddy Dance Company has found an exceptionally rich subject for their full-evening presentation of Lemp Legends: A Ghost Story. The work is a dynamic collaboration between Enos and six other choreographers, all company members with Big Muddy, and in researching and creating the story of St. Louis' famous Lemp family, they found the story to be even more intriguing that they had originally imagined. We asked Brian to let is in on more of the story behind this project, and the multi-layered process that led to its accomplishment, 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:
Some of mankind’s greatest discoveries were accidental. If it weren’t for these happy accidents, we would be missing everyday items such as super glue and (god forbid, especially if you’re a college student) the microwave. But we should also remember that accidents can pave the way for artists, including the dancers at Simantikos Dance Chicago. Founder and Artistic Director Haley McElwee did not start with the intention of creating a dance company, but in the three years since its founding, the company has experienced growth that has taken them from area rug-sized performance spaces to artistic collaborations in Italy. DancerMusic’s Kristi Licera recently caught up with Haley to get a peek into Simantikos’ upcoming performance at. Here’s what Haley told us:
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:
Esoteric Dance Project recently celebrated the culmination of their seventh season at Hamlin Park Field House Theater in their evening length production, TEN. The program included three premieres by choreographer spouses and co-Artistic Directors Brenna Pierson-Tucker and Christopher Tucker. If you missed your chance to see the show, join DancerMusic's Kristi Licera as she looks back in this RE-View:
Deeply Rooted Dance Theater celebrates the end of this monumental season with three performances of Deeply Free: 20th Anniversary Finale - December 8-10 at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts in Chicago. The program features company classics such as Church of Nations, Desire, Surrender, as well as the premiere of INDUMBA, choreographed by South African guest artist Fana Tshabalala. I am blessed to be in this space. They are not just dancers, they are human. This week, DancerMusic's Kristi Licera got a chance to talk to Fana about INDUMBA and his experience with Deeply Rooted. He started off by
New Dances 2017 marks the end of an incredible era of dance creation supported by Thodos Dance Chicago. The project aims to provide up and coming choreographers a chance to bring their fully realized visions to the stage. Take a look inside the studio with choreographer Brennen Renteria as he mounts his second contribution to the New Dances project series.