On Friday, June 29th, and again on Sunday, July 1, Thodos Dance Chicago and DanceWorks Chicago will present the very latest incarnation of a legendary dance event, NEW Dances. Audiences at Chicago's Ruth Page Center for the Arts will see a brand new dance company, specially formed for this performance, in works by six choreographers, specially made for NEW Dances. This year marks a new beginning, adding a present and a future to the story of New Dances. Two of the most influential, and most creatively community-aware professionals in Chicago dance -- Melissa Thodos and Julie Nakagawa -- decided last year to transition the New Dances event to a joint effort by DanceWorks Chicago and Thodos Dance Chicago. The performances feature new works by choreographers Shannon Alvis, Braeden Barnes, Katlin Michael Bourgeois, J’Sun Howard, Chris Johnson, and Anna Long. We asked both Melissa and Julie to let us in on a little more of this story, and here's what they told us:
If you seek a career in dance, where do you even begin? For dancer and choreographer Luis Vazquez, the beginning was sparked by an after school program taught by the Joffrey Ballet. Luis brings his journey through dance full circle with the world premiere of his latest choreographic work, Sea of Comets, in 8th Annual Winning Works, presented by The Joffrey Academy of Dance. DancerMusic's Kristi Licera caught up with Luis to find out more about his journey through dance. Here’s a behind the scenes look at Sea of Comets:
Choreographer Jessica Miller Tomlinson of JMT Choreography, is resetting her work 'Berseluk-Beluk', which originally premiered in July 2017 at Thodos Dance Chicago's final installment of 'New Dances'. DancerMusic's Kristi Licera caught up with Jessica as she prepares to present a re-staged version of this work this coming March. Read on to learn more about the origins of her work, and what it's like to reset with a different cast of dancers:
Lighting design is one of the most important, collaborative and creative contributions in the making of a dance concert. Last July, David Goodman-Edberg worked with Abby Ellison on her achingly beautiful work "Beneath the Clouds, Above the Rest", and with Brennen Renteria on his wildly enchanting "When In Doubt". We asked him to choose two photos from each work, and tell us whatever he wanted about his thoughts, his process and his inspiration. His insights offer an incredibly valuable look into the well-lit, but still mysterious world of Lighting Design.
On a warm summer, Saturday evening each year, the Chicago dance community unites in spectacular form to support those with critical health issues. Dance for Life 2017 continues the 25+ year tradition, bringing the best of Chicago dance to the Auditorium Theater stage this coming August. This year, Dance for Life welcomes Jessica Miller Tomlinson of JMT Choreography to the stage with 'In Tongues': a joyous choreographic work set to the music of The Talking Heads. Tomlinson, a seasoned member of the former Thodos Dance Chicago ensemble and recent addition to Adjunct Faculty at Northern Illinois University, is no stranger to the Dance for Life stage as a performer, but is participating as a presenting choreographer for the first time. KLic Creative caught up with JMT to get the inside scoop on what Tomlinson is working on for this not-to-be-missed evening of dance. Read on for our five part Q&A with JMT:
John Cartwright is a veteran, and a very successful one, of many different New Dances works. As Thodos Dance Chicago gears up for the performance of this year's edition, DancerMusic spoke with composer Joyce Lindsey about her original composition for Cartwright's piece Fluid.
Most people miss most of what's in a dance performance, and most photography misses even more. That's because most of a dance performance is dance, which at its heart is made out of the often boundless creativity of the artists whose movements make choreography, and the unlimited interactions between them that make dance so engaging. Here Thodos dancer/choreographers Alex Gordon, Luis Vazquez, Brennen Renteria and Shelby Moran give us some insight into four moments from their performances.
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.
Melissa Thodos' new story ballet Sono's Journey premieres Saturday, January 9 at the Auditorium Theatre.