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FALL DANCE PREVIEW Celebrations, milestones, and a few farewells
by Lauren Warnecke
2015-09-16

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The fall dance season is ramping up, and as sweater weather approaches a number of significant milestones are in tow:

—The Joffrey Ballet's second program of its 60th-anniversary season features the U.S. premiere of Sylvia, a seldom-performed 1876 story ballet set to music by Leo Delibes. In keeping with a more recent trend of reimagining classic, full-length ballets, Joffrey will perform a version created by Hamburg Ballet's John Neumeier Oct. 14-25 at the Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University. Also of note, 2015 will be the final season for Joffrey's iconic Nutcracker. Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino's choreography is to be retired in exchange for a brand new Christopher Wheeldon Nutcracker in 2016. Nutcracker performances run Dec. 4-27, also at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy. ( joffrey.org ) Also at the Auditorium Theatre: Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez, Sept. 26 and 27; and Twyla Tharp's 50th-anniversary tour, Nov. 5-8 ( auditoriumtheatre.org )

—Natya Dance Theatre celebrates its 40th season Oct. 22-24 with a full-length premiere created by founder and artistic director Hema Rajagopalan. Titled Varna: Colors of White, Rajagolapan's multimedia work infuses traditional Bharatanatyam dance with text, music, and drama to explore a variety of emotions. Varna: Colors of White is part of The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago's presenting season, which also includes Stephen Petronio Company, Oct. 1-3; and Camille A. Brown & Dancers, Nov. 5-7 at The Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave. ( colum.edu/Dance_Center/performances )

—Links Hall presents a fresh round of LinkUP artists Sept. 25-27. Nic Kay's Lil Black is a performance piece centered around their experience as a young, Black, queer, gender non-conforming person. Their work is paired with Chih-Hsien ( Jo-an ) Lin, whose Steeping Pace uses tea as a vehicle for exploring ritual social behaviors. The LinkUP showcase is a low-tech, experimental performance environment, the result of each artists' six-month residency at Links Hall, 3111 N. Western Ave. Also coming up at Links: Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Oct. 1-3; Illinoise Presented by Artistic Associate Blake Russell, who ironically will explore the great state of Illinois after recently transplanting to New York in two 12-hour days of performance Oct. 10-11; Kelly Anderson Dance Theatre presents Vaudeville Oct. 16-18; Joanna Furnans & Joshua Kent's Signifier, Oct. 23-25; and Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Adam Rose/Antibody Corporation presents Against Being Oct. 30-Nov. 1. ( linkshall.org )

—Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's Fall Series will feature two company premieres in a program dedicated to William Forsythe Oct. 15-18 at The Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., followed by a Winter Series featuring all-women choreographers. After a highly successful appetizer last season with Crystal Pite's A Picture of You Falling, the company will premiere Pite's substantial Solo Echo alongside Robin Mineko Williams' Waxing Moon, and world premieres from Penny Saunders and Yin Yue Dec. 10-13. ( hubbardstreetdance.com )

—Nomi Dance Company opens its ninth season with live musical accompaniment for Instrumental, a one-night-only performance Oct. 24 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Elements Contemporary Ballet and Aerial Dance Chicago ( ADC ) have expanded their 2014 collaborative piece into an evening-length work called AYA, An Aerial Ballet, also at the Athenaeum Oct. 10 and 17 ( athenaeumtheatre.org ). The partnership between Elements and ADC came about after seeing each other perform at the Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival, the six-year-old fest that has now expanded to two weekends at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St. This year's roster includes local favorites RE|Dance Group, Mordine & Co. Dance Theater, Jessica Miller Tomlinson, Giordano II, and Philip Elson for its second weekend Sept. 25-26 ( hccdf.com )

—Same Planet Different World makes its debut in the Edlis Neeson Theater at Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., on Oct. 22, 24 and 25. The company will perform a world premiere called Vanishing Point by Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor, created through and residency with Sheinfeld and Laor in Tel Aviv made possible through an International Connections Fund grant from the Macarthur Foundation. ( mcachicago.org )

—The always interesting Khecari expands on last year's psychological thriller Oubliette. Conceived by mastermind Jonathan Meyer, The Cronus Land leads its tiny audience through a fun house of sorts, continuing with previously explored themes of confinement, power, and perception. Performances have extremely limited availability Oct. 16-Nov. 13 at the Shoreland Ballroom, 5454 S. Shore Dr. Tickets are essentially pay-what-you-can, from $10 up to unsubsidized $250 tickets ( khecari.ticketleap.com/cronus ).

—Last but certainly not least, after 23 years at the helm, River North Dance Chicago ( RNDC ) artistic director Frank Chaves will make his final curtain call Oct. 3 at the Auditorium Theatre. A repertory program includes cherished revivals by Chaves, Randy Duncan, Sherry Zunker and more. Chaves' exit compounds the already unknown future of the company; this fall engagement is one not to miss, and the only opportunity to catch RNDC this season ( auditoriumtheatre.org ).


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