This month the selection of dance performances is full of kinetic movement, classical story, technological feats and spirited fun. Whether you are looking for a place to take a Valentine's date, seeking out high-energy entertainment, or just needing a pick me up from the dreary winter, be sure to check out what is happening in the Chicago dance scene in the next few weeks.
River North Chicago Dance Company ( RNCDC ) continues its 20th-anniversary season with a Valentine's Day-weekend performance showcasing a variety of choreographers. The evening will feature a world premiere by Robert Battle, artistic director of New York's Battleworks Dance Company. Also by Battle is a solo entitled "Ella," which celebrates the vocals of Ella Fitzgerald. Lauri Stallings returns to RNCDC with her world premiere entitled "Suppose." Stallings is an in-demand, cutting-edge choreographer, and her work explores connections of emotion and form through highly physical movement. RNCDC Artistic Director Frank Chaves returns his work "Forbidden Boundaries," and Sherry Zunker brings back "Evolution Of A Dream" from the company's fall show.
The performances will take place at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph, 8 p.m. Feb. 12-13; $30-$65. For more information, call 312-334-7777 or visit www.harristheaterchicago.org .
The Joffrey Ballet presents Cinderella at The Auditorium Theatre. This classic story of rags to riches is expressed through the technically stunning dancers of The Joffrey and choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton. As is tradition in this ballet, male dancers portray the overbearing, evil stepsisters. The production is set to Serge Prokofiev's gorgeous musical score, with sets and costume design by David Walker.
Performances will take place Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress. The shows are various times Feb. 17-28; $25-$145. For more information call 800-982-2787 or visit www.joffrey.org .
Jump Rhythm Jazz Project continues the celebration of its 20th-anniversary season with a performance at the Dance Center of Columbia College. This company is known for its vocal-rhythmic technique that emphasizes full-bodied rhythm-making to express inner energies. "Jump Rhythm Technique" was developed by Artistic Director Billy Siegenfeld, and is geared to all people who love moving to the beat.
The company won an Emmy in 2007 for the documentary Getting There: Jump Rhythm Jazz Project. The works that come out of Jump Rhythm Technique are high-energy and movement-driven story dances. Jump Rhythm Jazz backs its movement with beat-rich music such as blues-and-funk-based rock, jazz and world music. Their program is a mixture of premieres and classics, all choreographed by Siegenfeld. In the theme of love that comes up around this time of the year, Siegenfeld will premiere a duet that is an exploration of a wry romance between two people. The dance is backed by a quartet of scat-singing cupids based on the words of the Gershwin brothers and the music of James Brown.
The performances will take place at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, 8 p.m., Feb. 18-20; tickets are $24-28. For more information, call 312-369-8330 or visit www.colum.edu/dancecenter .
Troika Ranch is based in New York City and Berlin Germany, and comes to Chicago with its newest evening-length work "Loopdiver," which follows its fall 2009 premiere. Led by co-Artistic Directors Mark Coniglio and Dawn Stoppiello, this company seeks to create art that best reflects and engages contemporary society. The name Troika Ranch comes out of Conigilo and Stoppiello's creative methodology. This process involves a hybrid of dance, theater and media that makes up three elements working together ( Troika ) in cooperative interaction ( The Ranch ) . In the 1990s, Troika Ranch was one of the pioneers in an emerging field known as Dance and Technology. Its work is driven by the concept of interaction from inspiration to presentation of the dance. Troika Ranch produces live performances, interactive installations and digital films, combining traditional elements with advanced technologies.
"Loopdiver" comes out of a two-year process involving motion capture and Coniglio's Isadora software, a programming environment that provides interactive control and real-time manipulation of digital media. Technology maintains its perfection and precision in this dance that derives movement and multimedia elements from interwoven loops of prerecorded material. Elements caught in this loop include movement, text and digital media such as video, sound and light. A juxtaposition of technology and human beings is created as the Troika Ranch dancers are put up against these loops of technology, struggling to escape the externally imposed repetition that is both dreamlike and maddening.
Troika Ranch will perform at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, March 4-6 at 8 p.m.; tickets are $24-28. For more information, call 312-369-8330 or visit www.colum.edu/dancecenter.