Dance in Chicago revs up for a lively fall season with major companies, smaller ensembles, solo artists, and interdisciplinary projects. Here are five highlights to see Chicago dance performances this September:
1) HARVEST CHICAGO CONTEMPORARY DANCE FESTIVAL (HCCDF) presents its eighth anniversary event (8 p.m., September 8–9; 8 p.m., September 15–16, Ruth Page Center for the Arts).
HCCDF's mission is to celebrate the work of practicing contemporary dance artists. Over two weekends in September, 20 dance companies from around Chicago and across the country meet for a series of dynamic, innovative performances. Please join us for this amazing dance event! Audiences will see a different lineup of contemporary dance companies each weekend, with the same program offered both Friday and Saturday nights.
The first weekend will present: Aerial Dance Chicago (IL), The Dance COLEctive (IL), Agua Dulce Dance Theater (VA), Dmitri Peskov (UT), Paige Calderella (IL), Jordan Reinwald and Osnel Delgado Wambrug (IL/Cuba), Maya Taylor Dance (LA), Emma Draves (IL), Giordano II (IL) and Jennifer Glaws (MN).
The second weekend presents Synapse Arts (IL), Elements Contemporary Ballet (IL), Brady Van Patten and Zachary Bird (IL), RE|Dance Group (IL), Jesse Factor (IA), Brandon Coleman (IL), Rebecca McLindon Blanchard (IL), Corinne Imberski (IL), Ariel Lembeck (NY) and Aaron McGloin Dance (NY).
2) The fifth season from VISCERAL DANCE CHICAGO launches with two performances of its Fall Engagement program (7:30 p.m., September 16, North Shore Center For the Performing Arts, Skokie; also 7:30 p.m., October 7, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Chicago).
The program includes works such as Mark Godden's technically dynamic "Minor Threat," Nick Pupillo's newest visual sensation Synapse, crowd favorite "Ruff Celts" by Marguerite Donlon, and a world premiere by Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Recipient Danielle Agami.
3) HUBBARD STREET DANCE CHICAGO’S Space, In Perspective (7:30 p.m., September 21–24, Harris Theater) is an immersive and interactive dance installation choreographed and creative-directed by Peter Chu, So You Think You Can Dance guest choreographer and Artistic Director of chuthis. Kicking off its 40th anniversary season, Space, In Perspective covers all spaces of the Harris Theater.
Incorporating original music by former Music Director for Cirque Du Soleil, Jean-Francois (DJeff) Houle, video projections by Sven Ortel, and lighting by Marcus Doshi, as well as the addition of 15 dancers from the Hubbard Street Professional Program, this performance—the first of its kind in Hubbard Street’s four-decade history—re-invents the audience experience through moving imagery and changing perspectives. This unconventional gallery-style performance invites audience members to explore the unseen backstage of the Harris Theater. Join the dancers on a choreographed adventure backstage, up and down hallways, through dressing rooms, and on the stage alongside the dancers.
4) After a 10-plus-year absence, CHICAGO HUMAN RHYTHM PROJECT (CHRP) opens the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago’s 2017–18 season with a program assembled by Founder and Director Lane Alexander and CHRP Artist In Residence Dani Borak (7:30 p.m., September 21–23 at the Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago).
The program features an eclectic collection of works, including the first part of a world-premiere conceptual work by Borak melding contemporary and urban dance with American foot drumming.
Also on the program are MacArthur Fellowship (“Genius”) winner Michelle Dorrance’s "Push Past Break," a work blending two iconic American art forms, the blues and tap dance, that she created for CHRP with support from the Princess Grace Foundation and the Auditorium Theatre’s Movement + Movement Festival; one of Alexander’s signature works, "Prisms," which explores psychological disintegration and healing; as well as a medley of classic dances created by African-American tap masters Buster Brown, Lon Chaney and Harold “Stumpy” Cromer. Special guest Earlyn Whitehead will appear with her ensemble to reprise a work, created with funding from CHRP. Cartier Williams will also join the ensemble as a guest artist to present his celebrated works "Rhythm Refix" and "ZigityBop."
5) THE JOFFREY BALLET, in its first-ever collaboration with Lyric Opera of Chicago, performs in one of opera’s most beautiful masterpieces, Orphée et Eurydice (September 23–October 15, Lyric Opera House).
Gluck’s exquisite drama introduces us to Orpheus, the poet and musician whose every word and note communicate the most overwhelming love for his Eurydice. Refusing to accept her death, he courageously journeys to the Underworld to bring her back to life. The music reaches true heights of eloquence and emotion.
Lyric presents Orphée et Eurydice in the Paris version, which contains thrilling ballet sequences that will come to vivid life under the direction and choreography of the legendary John Neumeier, making his Lyric Opera debut as Director, Choreographer, and Set/Costume/Lighting Designer. Considered one of the world’s leading choreographers, Neumeier is originally from Milwaukee, trained as a dancer in Chicago, and has been based in Germany for nearly 50 years; currently artistic director of the Hamburg Ballet. In this brand new production, co-produced with Los Angeles Opera and Hamburg Opera, Orphée the poet and musician is reimagined as a choreographer, and his beloved Eurydice is a ballerina; dance moves the plot as much as music.
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 dance events and performances in the city. Read the complete selection of dance highlights for September.
Image 1: Visceral Dance Chicago dancers in "Minor Threat" by Mark Godden. Photo by Leni Hoppenworth. Image 2: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Image 3: Visceral Dance Chicago dancers in "Ruff Celts" by Marguerite Donlon. Photo by KT Miller Photography.