Spring in Chicago means an occasional snowstorm in the same week as 50-and 60-degree days. It also means dance. Lots and Lots of dance. Lots. Of. Dance.
March is typically a time for the big companies and touring shows, while April is for the little guys. Whatever your pleasure, there isn't a single weekend until May that Windy City Times readers don't have a plethora of options for dance. Here is a smattering of the highlights:
The Harris Theater for Music and Dance is back in action after an electrical fire caused cancellations of Alonzo King LINES Ballet and Hamburg Ballet. Spring engagements touring to the Harris include the Trey McIntyre Project on a farewell tour ( McIntyre recently announced he is disbanding the company in June ) featuring the Chicago premiere of "The Vinegar Works: Four Dances of Moral Instruction" ( April 3 ), and Ballet Preljocaj's full-length story ballet Blanche Neige ( Snow White ) based on the Brother's Grimm fairy tale with a sexy twist ( May 3-5 ). Giordano Dance Chicago ( GDC ) presents its Spring Series at the Harris Mar. 28-29, including the world premiere of Autumn Eckman's "Mist". The work is collaboration with the vocal ensemble Bella Voce, who will perform live onstage with the dancers. "Mist" was created as a celebration of the life of Kevin Flynn, an avid supporter of GDC who passed away in August 2013. ( www.harristheaterchicago.org )
The Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University is busy this spring, with notable visitors including first-time visitors Houston Ballet in the family friendly "Aladdin" ( Mar. 22-23 ) and the iconic Paul Taylor Dance Company ( May 17-18 ). River North Dance Chicago performs revival of Artistic Director Frank Chaves' "Underground Movements" April 12, and The Joffrey Ballet caps off its season with the US premiere of Krzysztof Pastor's "Romeo & Juliet" April 30-May 11. Butoh-inspired choreographer Ginger Krebs presents "Soft Parade" April 4-5 in the Katten/Landau studio. ( www.auditoriumtheatre.org )
The Ruth Page Center for the Performing Arts plays host to "Witness", a co-presentation of The Leopold Group and The Space/Movement Project March 28-30, exploring themes of spectatorship and including on stage seating exploiting Ruth Page's well known "upper stage". The new seating concept creates an audience that stares back at itself. Ron De Jesus Dance presents "Hyper Human," a mixed repertory program at Ruth Page April 25-26. ( www.brownpapertickets.com )
Links Hall is ramping up for Spring with two annual favorites. The 2014 LinkUp Artist Showcase features the culmination of a six month Links residency for Hannah Verrill and Lara Oppenheimer. The annual fundraiser/benefit/hootenanny called "THAW: A Hot Night of Ballyhoo" returns to the DANK Haus in Lincoln Square April 3. Hedwig Dances visits Links for its spring show "Markings" featuring an excerpt of Victor Alexander's "Line of Sighs" and the visually stunning "Double Helix," a collaboration with sculptor Barbara Cooper. ( www.linkshall.org ).
Chicago Tap Theater ( CTT ) enjoys one more weekend at Stage 773 for "Love Taps" March 21-23. Dubbed an "interactive tap opera" by Artistic Director Mark Yonally, CTT brings back one of the "Top 5 Overlooked Shows of 2010" ( Time Out Chicago ) after four years on the shelf. Though Chicago Moving Company is in residence at Hamlin Park Fieldhouse, the series called Dance Shelter will travel down Belmont to Stage 773 on April 11-12. This year's version includes work from the winners of last fall's "Dance for 9.99" Maureen Gonzales/Callie Frey and Erica Ricketts. ( www.stage773.com/tickets )
Suburban highlights include a studio presentation of The Seldoms' "Exit Disclaimer: Science and Fiction Ahead" at Northwestern University's Marjorie Ward Marshall Dance Center Ballroom April 24-27 ( www.brownpapertickets.org ) and the world-renowned dancer/contortionists of Pilobolus performing April 17 in the McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage ( home.cod.edu/atthemac/events ). Winifred Haun and Dancers' successful series "Vision, Faith, & Desire" returns this spring for a third installment. Keeping to the Martha Graham inspired concert first created last year through a collaboration with The Leopold Group, "Vision, Faith, & Desire III" performs at the Historic Pleasant Home in Oak Park April 12-13. ( www.pleasanthome.org )
Choreographer Mark Jeffrey culminates his Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Grant with the Chicago premiere of "The Operature" at the National Museum of Health and Medicine March 21-29. The performance/installation has been created over two years with collaborators from Anatomical Theatres of Mixed Realty. "The Operature" is influenced, in part, by the autobiographical record of the sexual exploits of Samuel Steward, a 20th-century tattoo artist, gay pornographer, and friend of Gertrude Stein. ( www.eventbrite.com )
Coming up in May, Hamlin Park Fieldhouse will be the home to the new Scatterdance Festival ( May 1-2 ), including work by Greer Dworman, Erica Ricketts, Jordan Reinwald and Joshua Kent, alongside Micheline Heal, Nora Sharp, and The Space Movement Project. The Biograph Theater seldom shows dance, but will host Chicago Repertory Ballet in "The Four Seasons" May 9-11. ( chicagoreperatoryballet.com )