Fasten your seat belts! April takes off with Chicago Dance Month, jam-packed with site-specific happenings and performances in public venues and neighborhoods throughout the city. Chicago Dance Month offers many ways to discover our city's energetic and varied dance scene with more than 50 performances, events, and classes.
This year, there are 27 FREE events across the city, and many at a special Dance Month "Hot Deal" discount rate. You can also take advantage of numerous opportunities to visit open rehearsals and catch FREE pop-up performances featuring a fantastic array of dance artists and organizations.
*** Look for the double dollar symbol $$ for the Special Chicago Dance Month "Hot Deal" Discounts (20-50% off). All discounts are available on SeeChicagoDance.com.
Kicking off the festivities April 1st at Walgreens on State Street (151 N. State Street) is Audience Architects' Dance Month launch party. Culture Shock Chicago, Tapman Productions, and Natya Dance Theater, rotate throughout the afternoon.
DANCE MONTH HIGHLIGHTS:
The Spring Series from Giordano Dance Chicago premieres Sneaky Pete (April 1-2, Harris Theater), a new full-company work by award-winning Chicago-based choreographer, Brock Clawson. With a theater director's sensibilities and a unique skill in creating fascinating movement narratives, Clawson has created a deliciously intriguing new work with a nod to film noir. In addition to Sneaky Pete, the program will feature Roni Koresh's EXit4 (2013), Autumn Eckman's commonthread (2009), Kiesha Lalama's full-company work Alegria (2011), Jon Lehrer's Like 100 Men (2002), and Gus Giordano's Sing, Sing, Sing (1983).
Experience tap and percussive dance as you never imagined it with eight different approaches to the art form on stage this month. Chicago Tap Theatre creates Time Steps, a story-in-tap, at Stage 773 (April 1-10). Billy Siegenfeld directs and Mark Yonally choreographs CTT's brand new tap dance drama, with original music by Kurt Schweitz, performed live on stage. The story, written and narrated by Marc Kelly Smith, mixes love romance and tragedy in Kelly's sixth collaboration with CTT.
Chicago Human Rhythm Project's Stomping Grounds features five different companies showcasing African, Irish, Mexican, Spanish, Japanese, and American cultural traditions in a celebration of rhythmic arts that connects diverse communities through rhythm. Stomping Grounds FREE events take place at various locations (April 4, 16, and 27), continue throughout May, culminating June 4 in CHRP's Chicago Rhythm Fest at the Auditorium Theatre.
JorsTAP Chicago presents Abstraction (April 29-30, Fulton Street Collective), playing out the title's definition, "the quality of dealing with ideas rather than events; the freedom from representational qualities in art." In a non-traditional performance space within Fulton Market, jorsTAP will perform a reboot of its previous show, Rackets, in which dancers literally turn the way viewers perceive tap dance upside-down. In maintaining its collaborative roots, the company will once again team up with a series of artists to challenge audiences' understanding of tap dance and art as a whole.
Family-friendly performances continue with Tapman Productions' The Adventures of Tapman, (April 30, Stage 773). Follow Tapman, Chicago's premiere tap dancing superhero, as he battles his arch nemesis, The MADD Tapper. Along the way, Tapman joins forces with The Modern Marvel, a crime-fighting modern dancer, in his quest to defeat The MADD Tapper. The Adventures of Tapman features light-hearted, 60s-era comic book humor, elaborate projected special effects, and phenomenal tap dancing including the unique tap dance fighting style, Tap-Fu!
Modern Dance highlights begin this month with Hedwig Dance's Circling The Square (Athenaeum Theatre, April 8-9), an evening of two works by Hedwig's Artistic Director, Jan Bartoszek. A new work, Trio M, is based on numerical and metaphorical references to the number "three. ASCENDance is a multi-disciplinary dance theater production depicting renewal and transformation in a chaotic world.
The DuSable Museum of African American History is the venue for Red Clay Dance Theatre's world premiere of Written on the Flesh, (April 8-9), a highly charged dance work that tackles the question, "what is the residue of elegant racism and how is it written on the flesh?" The work explores themes of identity, systematic racial inequity, and the history of mass violence perpetuated against black bodies in this country. The ensemble of 8 women take you on a journey, in search of the honesty, resilience, forgiveness, and love that is needed begin anew and create a society where true equality exists for all Americans?
Mordine and Company's Collisions (Links Hall, April 22-24) is a sequence of episodes that takes on ideas of immediate impact on our lives: tension between generations, cultures, and climatic changes. This project is a culmination of the depth, history, invention, teaching, and collaborations that Shirley Mordine has experienced in her years as Artistic Director. The project includes: a duet composed and performed by Hema Rajagopalan and Mordine, the fifth collaboration between Mordine and Rajagopalan, which contrasts two women of age from different cultural traditions; a dance choreographed by the Company dancers and set on Mordine to examine the role of age in relation to teaching, learning, voice and author; a work composed by puppeteer Michael Montenegro that will pair Mordine with a life-size puppet operated by two dancers; and a piece for five dancers derived from images of disruption and change as witnessed in nature.
Kyle Abraham brings When the Wolves Came In to the Museum of Contemporary Art (April 28-30) A dancer, choreographer, and director of the dance company Abraham.In.Motion, he often draws from his personal experiences to explore themes of adversity in his works. Trained in cello and piano from an early age, his pieces draw a rich relationship between music and dance. When the Wolves Came In references two triumphs in the history of civil rights and raises questions about how much progress we have actually made toward racial equality. Abraham took inspiration from jazz composer/drummer Max Roach's iconic 1960 protest album We Insist! Freedom Now Suite, which celebrated the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation and shed light on the growing civil rights movements in South Africa and the United States.
Lastly, Audience Architects invites you to a FREE Federal Plaza performance at 4:30 PM, April 29, to sample ten different Chicago Dance Month companies including Red Clay, Project Bound, Winifred Haun & Dancers, Esoteric Dance Project, Joel Hall & Dancers, Ballet 5:8, Carson Reiners, Nomi Dance Company, Natya Dance Theater, and Tapman Productions.
This feature is brought to you by SeeChicagoDance.com, the definitive guide to Chicago's dance scene and your source for a full calendar of performances in the city. Click here for all the top picks for the month at SeeChicagoDance.com.