February may be the shortest month of the year, but it's jam-packed with holidays, like Ground Hog Day, Valentines Day, and Mardi Gras, Presidents' Day, the Chinese New Year, and Superbowl Sunday. And what better way to celebrate than by seeing a dance concert!
Chicago dance is kicking up its heels in every way imaginable this month, from jazz to ballet, tap, Mexican, Spanish, Indian, and African American traditions, modern, contemporary and avant-garde.
1. The Joffrey Ballet | Bold Moves (February 10-21)
The Joffrey Ballet presents Bold Moves with a world premiere choreographed by Ashley Page. A winner of many prestigious dance awards, Page is known for his daring collaborations with visual artists and contemporary composers. For The Joffrey Ballet, he is creating a work for 12 dancers which responds directly to the elemental and organic forces he finds in British composer Thomas Adès' violin concerto Concentric Paths. The music contains constantly shifting tensions, evocative atmospheres and a seam of wayward sensuality.
Also on the program are Jiri Kylian's "Forgotten Land", set to music by Benjamin Britten and inspired by a painting of women on a beach by Edvard Much, and Yuri Possokhov's "RAkU." Possokhov uses the burning of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan, as the point of departure for a story of love, treachery, separation and tragedy. Set in Japan's past, a warrior and his beloved princess are pulled apart by the schemes of a jealousy-crazed monk.
2. Chicago Moving Company | Spontaneous Combustion (February 18-19)
Chicago Moving Company sponsors Spontaneous Combustion at the Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater. Two lovely, winter nights of dance work based in improvisation and anchored by celebrated masters of the form: Chris Aiken and Angie Hauser, celebrated nationally and internationally for their solo and duet practice and performance making their sole Chicago performance appearance this year. Joining them are stand-out Chicago dance artists, Sarah Gottlieb and Julie Ann Graham, who will each present new, inventive improvised works of their own (developed during a 6-month mentorship with Angie).
3. Striding Lion Performance Corps |The Great and Terrible Dr. Faustus (February 19-28)
Striding Lion Performance Corps transforms the historic Athenaeum Theatre with The Great and Terrible Dr. Faustus. The hour draws nigh for the Great and Terrible Doctor Faustus to attempt his most mind-bending magic act yet: The Vanishing Cabinet. In this immersive dance-theatre soiree, you will follow Faustus and the seven deadly sins through the darkest corners of the Athenaeum Theatre, a century-old landmark full of ghosts from the past. Pursue revenge and fortune in a theatrical purgatory run by the Devil himself. Meet glamorous characters from yesteryear with scores to settle and secrets to tell. See backstage like you never have before.
Note: This performance requires constant audience movement, including up and down stairs, but there is an accessible route for those who require it. Additionally, you will be split up from your group unless you notify the box office that you need to stick together.
4. Hamburg Ballet | Othello (February 23-24)
5. Hamburg Ballet | Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler (February 26-27)
Hamburg Ballet returns to the Harris Theater with two full-length ballets created by company Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer John Neumeier. Othello — performed as part of the Shakespeare 400 Chicago celebration — is the company's interpretation of Shakespeare's seminal tragedy, performed with live accompaniment from the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra with music by Arvo Pärt, Alfred Schnittke, and Naná Vasconcelos. Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler has become one of Neumeier's most important and defining works. Inspired by his great love of Mahler's music, he created a timeless ballet to express all the emotions and feelings that the Third Symphony's score evokes in its listeners. "I have translated the feelings experienced and images suggested while hearing his Third Symphony into movement, into pure dance situations, and into human relationships," said Neumeier, who also designed the costumes and lighting concept for the ballet.
6. NAJWA Dance Corps | Goin' North: A Story from 'The Great Migration' (February 27)
NAJWA Dance Corps honors Black History Month with Goin' North: A Story from ‘The Great Migration' at DuSable Museum of African American History. Through dance, NDC will take you on an epic journey from the cotton fields of the south to the theaters and nightclubs of Chicago. This event will showcase exhilarating African American dance styles (via Africa) of the 20's, 30's and 40's -Charleston, Jitterbug, and traditional jazz (Swing), etc., that will educate, entertain and enlighten you about the "Great Migration."
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.