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Dancin' Feats fall preview
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times

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As the fall dance season approaches, Windy City dance companies should be happy to know they have a strong advocate in Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Now Emanuel has taken a lot of ribbing from comedians for his past ballet dance training, but what those jokesters fail to see is that professional dancers are as skilled, dexterous and dedicated as any pro-league athlete. ( Now if only professional dancers were paid on the same scale as professional athletes. )

In any case, be on the lookout for dance fan Emanuel for any one of the following dance events this fall.

Hometown hitters

Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre and Inaside Chicago Dance team for a new work choreographed by Wilfredo Rivera and Richard Smith called Constant Motion featuring live music and vocals at Millennium Park's Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph. Curtain time is 8 p.m. Sept. 24. Tickets are $25-$40. Call 312-334-7777.

Luna Negra Dance Theater celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with a program celebrating globally influential Latinas called �Mujeres! On the bill are two world premieres by Asun Noales and Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, plus a returning favorite by Michelle Manzanales. Curtain time is at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph. Tickets run from $25-$65. Call 312-334-7777.

It's appropriate that Natya Dance Theatre is presenting Hema Rajagopalan and Krithika Rajagopalan's world premiere of The Flowering Tree at Millennium Park's Harris Theater for Music and Dance. The same theater also featured the 2008 Midwest debut of John Adams' opera A Flowering Tree based upon the classic South Indian folk tale of a young woman who captures the heart of a prince over her magical ability to transform herself into a flowering tree. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8. Tickets are $24-$50. Call 312-334-7777.

Before its marathon run of The Nutcracker in December, The Joffrey Ballet turns its attention to the world premiere of Yuri Possokhov's re-imagined take on the story ballet Don Quixote. This new staging features a live orchestra, plus a production design that includes video projections by Wendell Harrington ( Othello, The Who's Tommy ) to help illustrate many of the fantastical visions experienced by Cervantes' legendary Spanish knight. The Joffrey Ballet's Don Quixote plays from Oct. 12-23 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress. Tickets are $25-$149. Call 800-982-2787.

Master choreographer Twyla Tharp unveils a world-premiere work for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's Fall Series, which also includes the U.S. exclusive performances of Nacho Duato's Arcangelo and the return of Johan Inger's Walking Mad set to Ravel's Bolero ( back by popular demand ) . Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13, 8 p.m. Oct. 14 and 15 and 3 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph. Tickets are $25-$94. Call 312-334-7777.

For parents looking for a holiday alternative to The Nutcracker, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is reviving its new children's dance piece Harold and the Purple Crayon: A Dance Adventure inspired by Crockett Johnson's classic children's book. Performances are at 2 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. Call 312-334-7777 to find out ticket prices and when they go on sale.

Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago returns to its hometown for a repertory program titled Passion and Fire at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph. Curtain time is 8 p.m. Oct. 21-22. Tickets are $15-$60. Call 312-334-7777.

River North Dance Chicago presents the company premiere of Daniel Ezralow's celebrated urban piece SUPER STRAIGHT is coming down, plus a revival of two Frank Chaves works and a suite of tangos by Sabrina and Ruben Veliz as part of its fall Chicago residency at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph. Performances are at 8 p.m. Nov. 4 and 5. Tickets are $30-$60. Call 312-334-7777.

Courtesy of Dance Center of Columbia College

This fall The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago hosts its first two visiting dance companies at its home at 1306 S. Michigan, and two subsequent companies at Millennium Park's Harris Theater for Music and Dance at 205 E. Randolph.

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company offers up two different repertory programs featuring revised seminal works from the late 1970s and early '80s choreographed by Jones with his late partner, Zane ( who passed away from AIDS-related causes in 1988 ) . Program A is at 8 p.m. Sept. 29 and 3 p.m. Oct 3, while Program B is at 8 p.m. Sept. 30 and 8 p.m. Oct. 1. Tickets are $35-$40. Call 312-344-8300.

Dancing Henry V is the title of David Gordon's multimedia piece for Pick Up Performance CO ( S ) . Inspired by Shakespeare's classic history play, the performance features prop manipulation, recorded narration by Laurence Olivier and Christopher Plummer and an ensemble of seven dancers ( including New York City Ballet veteran Robert La Fosse ) . Performances are at 8 p.m. Oct. 13-15. Tickets are $26-$30. Call 312-344-8300.

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan returns to Chicago ( appropriately in Millennium Park near Anish Kapoor's similarly named Cloud Gate sculpture ) with the local premiere of Lin Hwai-min's Water Stains on the Wall, a multimedia piece drawing a connection between projected black clouds and Chinese calligraphy. Performances are at 8 p.m. Oct. 28 and 29. Tickets are $25-$65. Call 312-334-7777.

Time is running out to experience the Merce Cunningham Dance Company on its Legacy Tour before it officially disbands ( as per the request of the late gay choreographer ) . On tap are two repertory programs, with three pieces in Program A ( 8 p.m. Nov. 18 ) , while Program B consists of the evening-length Roaratorio ( 8 p.m. Nov. 19 ) . Tickets are $25-$65. Call 312-334-7777.

Movement at the MCA

The Museum of Contemporary Art's MCA Stage hosts a variety of visiting dance artists, some tied to gallery exhibits at 220 E. Chicago, while others are creating new works based upon artistic residencies.

Japanese-American dance duo Eiko & Koma perform their newest work, Raven, along with two early works as part of a 40th anniversary retrospective project at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22 to 24. Tickets are $28. Call 312-397-4010. The duo also perform the in-gallery piece Naked from 1 to 8 p.m. Nov. 8 and from 1 to 5 p.m. Nov. 9 ( included with price of museum admission ) .

Faustin Linvekula/Studios Kabako performs the dance/theater piece more more more… future as a way to explore the history and present-day struggles of the Congo. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21 to 23. Tickets are $28. Call 312-397-4010.

Dance troupe Lucky Plush Productions teams with physical theater troupe 500 Clown for The Better Half, a positive and negative meditation on what it means to be part of a couple. The performances, inspired in part by the 1944 film drama Gaslight, are at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27 to 29 and at Nov. 3, 5 and 6. Tickets are $28. Call 312-397-4010.

Choreographer Liz Lerman presents a new multimedia work called The Matter of Origins, which probes aspects of the universe in relation to science, poetry and faith. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10-13. Tickets are $28. Call 312-397-4010.

More visiting companies

The Serbian National Folk Dance Ensemble presents KOLO as part of its North American tour. The performance features music, dance, and traditional costumes that celebrate Serbian culture at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph. Curtain time is 7 p.m. Oct. 30. Tickets are $35-$65. Call 312-334-7777.

Rasta Thomas' BAD BOYS OF DANCE debuted in 2007 and features hyper-gymnastic choreography mixed in with manic animated projections. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5 and 2 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress. Tickets are $30-$72. Call 800-982-2787.

Founded in 1987, AXIS Dance Company stands out in the contemporary dance scene since it mixes performers with and without disabilities together to create new and thought-provoking works. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19 and 2 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress. Tickets are $30-$72. Call 800-982-2787.

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