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Chicago’s winter filled with some pretty cool footwork

The Dance COLEctive's winter concert series is titled 'Free/Bound.'

The Dance COLEctive's winter concert series is titled "Free/Bound."

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Updated: January 10, 2013 7:56PM

For many years that incomparable cartoonist, Jules Feiffer, drew barefoot modern dancers heralding the arrival of spring, even if they often seemed plagued by all the seasonal affective disorders of winter. As snowstorms blow our way in the next few months, and the sight of a jogger in shorts feels like a distant dream, Chicago dance lovers can look forward to a packed calendar of concerts by companies of every description. Here is a closer look at the lineup at four major venues, and there is plenty more on a slew of smaller stages, too.


The Joffrey Ballet (Feb. 13-24): Under the umbrella title “American Legends,” the company will perform Jerome Robbins’ exuberantly youthful romp “Interplay,” set to music by Morton Gould; Twyla Tharp’s homage to Old Blue Eyes, “Nine Sinatra Songs”; “Sea Shadow,” Gerald Arpino’s exquisite duet to music by Ravel; and a demanding world premiere, “Son of Chamber Symphony,” choreographed by Houston Ballet artistic director Stanton Welch.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (March 8-17): Under its new artistic director, Robert Battle, the company’s mixed repertory programs are full of surprises, but continue to include Ailey’s signature piece, “Revelations.”

River North Dance Chicago (April 13): In collaboration with Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, the company will perform the world premiere of “Havana Blue,” with artistic director/choreographer Frank Chaves teaming with Davis on a piece that explores the men’s shared Cuban/Afro-Caribbean roots in a contemporary way.

Eisenhower Dance Ensemble (April 14): This Detroit-based ensemble will perform “Motown in Motion,” set to recordings by many of the Motor City’s most fabled artists (The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, The Supremes and Stevie Wonder), as well as additional works from its rep.

The Joffrey Ballet (April 24-May 5): The company will reprise Lar Lubovitch’s fascinating full-length work based on Shakespeare’s “Othello.” Set to music by Oscar-winning composer Elliot B. Goldenthal, the ballet was a huge hit when the Joffrey first danced it in 2009.

The Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg, Russia (May 17-19): This unique company, propelled by the ultra-modern ballet ethos and psychological drama of choreographer Boris Eifman, will dance his full-length work “Rodin.” Set to music by Saint-Saens, Massenet and Ravel, the work looks at the French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), and his stormy relationship with his mistress-muse, Camille Claudel.

For schedules and tickets for all performances, call (800) 982-2787 or visit


Mummenschanz (Jan. 18-19): This beloved Switzerland-based physical theater company, on a 40th anniversary tour, is renowned for the way its performers transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Using common materials and everyday objects such as wires, tubes, boxes and fabric, they create fantastical characters and reveal timeless truths about human relationships.

Hamburg Ballet: (Feb. 1-2): Led by former American ballet dancer John Neumeier, this internationally admired German company will perform “Nijinsky,” his spellbinding ballet inspired by the early 20th century dancer, choreographer and superstar, Vaslav Nijinsky. A memory piece, it begins as Nijinsky is about to give his last performance as a dancer, and flashes back to events in his life, while also recalling his most important roles as a dancer. The score includes music by Chopin, as well as Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade.”

Thodos Dance Chicago (March 2-3): Choreographers Melissa Thodos and Ann Reinking continue their award-winning collaboration (“The White City”) with the premiere of “A Light in the Dark,” a one act story ballet (to an original score by Bruce Wolosoff) about Helen Keller, the legendary deaf-mute, writer and activist, and her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Also on the bill will be a new work from renowned California choreographer KT Nelson.

Luna Negra Dance Theater (March 9): As part of a program titled “Made in Spain,” the company will perform a world premiere by Spanish choreographer Fernando Hernando Magadan, created in collaboration with, and performed live by the Turtle Island Quartet. The program also will include a new work by Monica Cervantes, the Spanish-bred ensemble dancer and choreographer, plus a reprise of Magadan’s wildly ingenious “Naked Ape,” which looks at the impact of technology on human behavior.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (March 14-17): This engagement will mark the Chicago premiere of a multi-year collaboration with choreographer Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet of San Francisco. These two high profile dance companies join forces on one stage to create a “supergroup” of contemporary and neoclassical dancers, juxtaposing Hubbard Street’s “earthy athleticism” with LINES Ballet’s “ethereal architecture of torsions.” Also on the program will be repertory works by both companies.

Giordano Dance Chicago (March 21-23): The program will include a new full company work by Cuban-American choreographer Liz Imperio, who has worked with such celebs as Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan and Madonna, along with many selections from the rep.

For schedules and tickets for all performances, call (312) 334-7777 or visit www.harristheaterchicago.


Double Edge Theatre (Jan. 18-19): In “The Grand Parade (of the Twentieth Century),” conceived and directed by Stacy Klein, and set to Russian composer Alexander Bakshi’s original score, this Massachusetts-based physical theater company will incorporate choreography, aerial flight, puppetry and circus arts to conjure the life and times and paintings of visionary artist Marc Chagall.

Zoe/Juniper (Feb. 14-16): In “A Crack in Everything,” choreographer Zoe Scofield and her husband, sculptor/photographer/media artist Juniper Shuey, have drawn on “The Oresteia,” the Greek tragedy, to explore the tension between our quest for justice and our hunger for the blood lust of revenge.

Stephen Petronio Company (March 7-9): This dynamic New York-based troupe will present Petronio’s “Underland,” an erotic, enigmatic, evening-length work inspired by the bittersweet songs of Australia’s Nick Cave.

The Chicago Moving Company (March 21-23): The troupe will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a program of four major revivals and a new work by founder Nina Shineflug.

Delfos Danza Contemporanea (April 4-6): One of Mexico’s leading contemporary dance companies, this Mazatlan-based troupe, celebrating its 20th anniversary, is widely admired for its “color-saturated works of magic realism.” Its program will include “Resonancias,” a suite of seven pieces, as well as the newer 2012 work, “Secretos (Secrets).”

For schedules and tickets to all performances, call (312) 369-8300 or visit


Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People (Jan. 31 and Feb. 2-3): In “And lose the name of action,” six vivid performers explore the ghostlike traces that dance leaves on the mind and body.

Compagnie Marie Chouinard (March 21-23): To mark the 100th anniversary of “The Rite of Spring,” the revolutionary ballet by composer Igor Stravinsky and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky, the troupe will performer Chouinard’s acclaimed 1993 interpretation of the piece that taps into its deep, primitive spirit. Also on the program will be the Quebecoise choreographer’s newest work, “Mouvements,” inspired by the poetry and arresting pictures of Belgian artist Henri Michaux (1899-1984).

For schedules and tickets to all performances, call (312) 397-4010 or visit

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