March Madness isn't just for basketball, March Hares, or Easter Bunnies! Catch the dance delirium on dozens of Chicago dance stages that are literally jumping with fresh new work from near and far this month.
THIS WEEKEND'S PICK:
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre roars into town for its annual Chicago season at the Auditorium Theatre (March 8-13). Three separate programs feature choreography by artistic director Robert Battle, Paul Tayor, Ronald K. Brown, Rennie Harris, and classic Ailey choreography. In addition to "Revelations," performed in each of the three programs, Program A will include "Open Door," "Love Songs," and "Awakening;" Program B, "Exodus," and "No Longer Silent;" and Program C "Blues Suite," "Cry," and Piazzolla Caldera."
MORE MARCH DANCE HIGHLIGHTS:
The Dance Center of Columbia College features two out-of-state touring groups: Joe Goode Performance Group (March 10-12), and Rennie Harris and Michael Sukamoto (March 31-April 2). San Francisco-based choreographer Joe Goode pushes the boundaries of dance theater, with narrative text, music and dance playing equally strong roles. The full evening work takes on atmospheric depth with a soundscape by Sudhu Tewari and Ben Juodvalkis. Tewari specializes in creating electro-acoustic sound art from the remains of discarded stereo equipment, kinetic sculptures and other devices. For Hush he uses techniques from the world of movie sound effects - known as Foley art - to create a many-textured ambient environment for the performers.
"Flash," a duet choreographed, written and performed by Rennie Harris and Michael Sakamoto, combines their dual approaches to manifesting a body in crisis. The work is conceived as a "conversation" between the artists' respective aesthetics (hip hop and butoh), cultural backgrounds (African American and Japanese American) and personalities. Hip hop and butoh were both born from marginalized, postwar urban subcultures, and each embodies a philosophical approach to the creation of cultural identity through dance. Flash is an interdisciplinary performance project combining butoh and hip-hop dance, multimedia and other theatrical elements to address the intersection of urban and environmental crisis, social resistance and identity.
Three compelling works of dance-theater, with costumes by Jeff Award-winning designer Branimira Ivanova, bring a sizzle to Season 38 at Hubbard Street Dance (March 17-20, Harris Theater). In Resident Choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo's "The Impossible," an aging couple looks back on their youth; its poignant, surprising scenes raise intriguing questions about memory, mortality, partnership, and the resilience of the human spirit.
In contrast, Gustavo Ramírez Sansano's "I am Mister B" is a witty, exuberant, and fast-paced homage to the great ballet choreographer George Balanchine. This quicksilver piece — made exclusively for Hubbard Street — is set to the celebratory final movement of Tchaikovsky's third suite for orchestra in G major, with gossamer, deep-blue set designs by Spanish artist Luis Crespo. Completing the program is a commanding world premiere from Lucas Crandall for the full ensemble, performed in boots, and inspired by the energy and velocity of stampedes
Links Hall's SET FREE: Progress In Performance 3rd Mondays series (Links Hall, March 21) supports the progression of creative work through performance. A SET FREE residency at Links Hall includes five Monday evening showings shared among four artists, each receiving 25 minutes per evening to repeat and revisit the development of their work, which includes both SET material, and improvised FREE work. The series ends with one final weekend performance split among all four artists involved. The four artists participating in this new series are Peter Carpenter, Lisa Gonzales, Jessica Marasa and Ysaye McKeever. Tea and light snacks will be served at each performance.
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.