Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

DANCE Chicago academy's spring event celebrates Alvin Ailey's legacy
by Ariel Parrella-Aureli
2019-04-24

This article shared 4406 times since Wed Apr 24, 2019
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


The high school hallway is quiet. There is nobody standing at the gray lockers, reading in a corner or chatting by the water fountain. The white walls are lined with old, black and white photographs of dancers and flyers of upcoming art performances, and backpacks and shoes lie unattended on the floor.

It's a scene reminiscent of a typical high school experience, despite one key difference: Instead of chatter, lectures or film sounds coming from nearby classrooms, tapping, clapping, live music and heavy breathing seeps out into the hallway.

At the Chicago Academy for the Arts, it's a busy afternoon of dance rehearsal and artful endeavors. More than 20 aspiring dancers, ages 14 to 18, are practicing in the large rehearsal hall for an upcoming performance that is the first of its kind. The academy and longtime donor/supporter Barbara Levy Kipper will present "Icons of Choreography Dance Series" on Saturday, May 4, which will include work by influential choreographers Martha Graham, Gerald Arpino and Alvin Ailey.

The show—which will act as the school's annual spring performance—is an opportunity for dancers to present work that would usually only be seen in premieres from professional dance companies, said Randy Duncan, the dance department chair and an award-winning choreographer/dancer.

"[We wanted to] start a series of well-known choreographers throughout history, so we went to work," Duncan told Windy City Times.

Thanks to "friends in high places," the department was able to get rights to the famous pieces and show the technique and style of each influential choreographer, he said.

Graham was the first dancer to perform at the White House and received high honors worldwide in her more than 70 years of modern dancing. Arpino was the co-founder of Joffrey Ballet and succeeded Robert Joffrey as its artistic director in 1988 until his death in 2008, and choreographed more than a third of all its commissioned ballets. Ailey's iconic, lavish pieces credited him with showcasing modern dance and revolutionizing African-American participation in 20th-century concert dance. Much of his work focuses on relationships, spirituality and sexuality, including same-sex couples. ( Ailey himself was gay. )

Excerpts from Graham's "Diversion of Angels," Arpino's "Kettentanz" and Ailey's "Escapades" will be shown during the spring performance, which will also showcase an original by Duncan called "Initiation."

"Escapades" was originally choreographed for the Centro Regionale Della Danza of Italy in 1983. Duncan said he originally wanted to showcase "Night Creatures" but the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater still performs it, so the Academy was given "Escapades"—still performed by Ailey II, the second dance company he founded—instead.

"I wanted the Ailey work because no one ever does the Ailey work outside of Ailey and the second company," Duncan said.

He remembered meeting Ailey in the '70s after he graduated high school and attended the Ailey School on a scholarship; he became friends with the choreographer and was mentored by him. Duncan said Ailey had influence over many dance companies, choreographers and dancers and expanded the diversity, quality of movement and style of the dance world. He also was a celebrated figure in the Black and LGBTQ communities and remains an icon for his theatrical dance work rooted in activism, history and intimate relationships.

"I was very lucky [to see] things through his eyes," he said. "Everyone knows Ailey."

The high school students recognize his prestigious work and impact on the dance community, too. Senior Zachary Jeppsen is the male lead in the "Escapades" duet along with Mary Adele Campbell. Jeppsen said Ailey's work taught dancers, especially ballet dancers, how to embrace artistry and not just technique.

"He is amazing—he has been able to get this jazzy sort of swing and set it on ballet dancers," Jeppsen said. "He opened up a whole new chapter by combining those two art forms and styles of dance that I don't think was not present before."

Jeppsen, who was recently accepted into The Julliard School, has attended the Academy since freshman year and commuted three hours one way from Wisconsin for most of his high school days. Just this year, his parents rented him an apartment in the city to be closer to school. He said working on his dance skills for hours every day has been a growing experience that has led him to Ailey exposure like the upcoming show—which most students do not experience, he said.

Duncan said the department is excited to showcase the incredible work for the first time at the Academy and to have advanced dancers that can perform the pieces.

"With the dance department that we have here, I knew we could do [Ailey's] work great honor," he said.

For more information on the Academy's show and to purchase tickets, visit www.chicagoacademyforthearts.org/academy-events/2019/5/4/faculty-and-guest-choreographed-dance-concert .


This article shared 4406 times since Wed Apr 24, 2019
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Chicago Dance History Project moving to Ruth Page Center 2021-09-17
- Chicago Dance History Project (CDHP)—which investigates, documents and presents the individual and institutional past of Chicago dance—plans to move into The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., as an artist in residence. ...


Gay News

Joffrey welcomes four dancers from South Korea, Spain and the U.S. 2021-09-15
- The Joffrey Ballet's Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE, The and President and CEO Greg Cameron announced the addition of four dancers to the Joffrey roster for the 2021-22 season: Brian Bennett (Lanham, Maryland), ...


Gay News

DANCE Ensemble Espanol to open Auditorium Theatre season Oct. 16 2021-09-10
- Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater, in residence at Northeastern Illinois University, will return to the Auditorium Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 7:30 p.m. The company will mark the finale performance of its 45th-anniversary "Zafiro Flamenco ...


Gay News

Footwork dancers to be featured Sept. 10 in Art on theMART event 2021-09-05
- "Dance Down by The River"—an evening of Chicago dance and music—is coming to the Riverwalk in conjunction with Art on theMART thanks to a Chicago Presents grant awarded by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and ...


Gay News

MUSIC Upcoming 'Carmen' featuring queer lead, male drag 2021-09-05
- On Sept. 16 and 18 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago audiences will have the rare opportunity to hear two world-class dramatic mezzo-sopranos debut new roles opposite one another ...


Gay News

TV 'Dancing with the Stars' to feature first same-sex partnership 2021-08-27
- ABC's Dancing With the Stars will be breaking new ground in the upcoming 30th season—with its first same-sex partnership. According to Deadline, on Aug. 26, host Tyra Banks and executive producer Andrew Llinares revealed that the ...


Gay News

MUSIC Diplo, Galantis part of Spring Awakening 2021-08-24
- The organizers of the Chicago electronic dance music (EDM) festival Spring Awakening have added the acts Diplo and Galantis to the Oct. 2-3 event. Spring Awakening will take place in Addams/Medill Park, 1301 W. 14th St. ...


Gay News

Joffrey Ballet's "Home: a Celebration" opens inaugural season at Lyric Opera House 2021-08-18
--From a press release - August 18, 2021 (Chicago) — The Joffrey Ballet opens its inaugural season at the Lyric Opera House and marks its return to live performances with Home: a Celebration, a triumphant mixed repertory program that spotlights original ...


Gay News

Aug. 12 dance film to explore gender, queerness in South Asian arts 2021-08-03
- Ashwaty Chennat, a Chicago Dancemakers 2021 Digital Dance grantee, has continued her collaboration with Abhijeet Rane to explore gender, queerness and the body in South Asian arts and traditions. An excerpt of Chennai and Rane's ...


Gay News

Winifred Haun & Dancers announces 2021-22 season, return to live performances 2021-07-27
--From a press release - Chicago & Oak Park, IL — Winifred Haun & Dancers will return to in person theater events and live programming for the upcoming 2021|22 Season. The Company will be presented at the Pritzker Pavilion, Ruth Page ...


Gay News

DANCE Deeply Rooted named to INFLUENCERS Cohort 2021-07-24
- Chicago's Deeply Rooted Dance Theater is one of five dance companies (and the only Midwestern one) named to the International Association of Blacks in Dance's (IABD's) INFLUENCERS Cohort for the 2021 COHI/MOVE program. The five ...


Gay News

Lightfoot announces 27 Neighborhood Opportunity Fund Grant finalists 2021-07-12
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced 27 new Neighborhood Opportunity Fund (NOF) grant finalists. A Greater Grand Crossing shared kitchen, a Calumet Heights dance studio, and a Humboldt Park juice bar are among the ...


Gay News

Dance for Life to present 10 companies, world-premiere finale 2021-07-08
- Chicago Dancers United (CDU), which supports the health and wellness of Chicago's professional dance community, announced an expanded lineup and program for the 30th anniversary of its annual fundraiser, Dance for Life, which takes place in ...


Gay News

AIDS ballet movie coming to Chicago on July 16 2021-07-07
- The movie Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters will open Friday, July 16, in virtual cinemas in Chicago at Gene Siskel Film Center and Music Box Theatre. "Can You Bring It"—co-directed by Rosalynde LeBlanc and ...


Gay News

Billy Masters 2021-07-05
- "like the song is literally about gay sex what y'all want me to do play the piano while baking a cake?"—Lil Nas X tweets a response to criticism of kissing one of his male dancers on the BET Awards. Call me ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.