April is "Chicago Dance Month," founded as a response to the abundance of dance performances happening here each spring.
With big touring groups rolling through town, and local companies finishing up their 2015-16 seasons, there are a plethora of options throughout Chicago Dance Month and beyond. Especially prominent this spring are a number of tap and percussive dance performances. Here is a smattering of the highlights:
The Harris Theater for Music and Dance is home for many of the larger companies' spring engagements, including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago March 17-20, Giordano Dance Chicago April 1-2 and Visceral Dance Chicago April 9. Hubbard Street brings back Gustavo Ramirez Sansano's witty I am Mister B and Alejandro Cerrudo's The Impossible with a world premiere by the company's rehearsal director, Lucas Crandall.
Giordano's program will feature Chicagoan Brock Clawson's film noir inspired Sneaky Pete while Visceral premieres new works by artistic director Nick Pupillo and Irish choreographer Marguerite Donlon. Two big tours roll through town to perform at the Harris in April: April 5-6 features Brooklyn-based legendary choreographer Mark Morris conducting music as his dancers perform the acclaimed Dido and Aeneas, while the stunning Miami City Ballet presents classic Balanchine works alongside Justin Peck's Heatscape April 29-30. ( 205 E. Randolph St., harristheaterchicago.org )
The Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University hosts The Joffrey Ballet for its final engagement of the company's 60th-anniversary season. Performing Frederick Ashton's version of Prokofiev's eerie evening-length Cinderella, the two weekends of performances May 11-22 will be fun for the whole family. ( 50 E. Congress Pkwy., auditoriumtheatre.org )
Chicago Tap Theater ( CTT ) premieres its latest narrative tap performance Time Steps at Stage 773 April 1-10. Known for their witty humor and live music, CTT's "time travel love story" promises to induce foot tapping and smiles all the way home. Stage 773 also boats Tristan Bruns' The Adventures of Tapmap, a family-friendly, comic book-inspired, crime fighting, tap dancing superhero saga. ( 1225 W. Belmont Ave., stage773.com/tickets )
The Seldoms' latest is RockCitizen, a rock-inspired evening-length work and companion piece to the highly acclaimed Power Goes. Artistic director Carrie Hanson, recently named "Dance Chicagoan of the Year" by the Chicago Tribune, recruited the same collaborative team as Power Goes to create a psychedelic landscape for her work, the centerpiece of which is visual artist Bob Faust's colorful and interactive "brascape". RockCitizen premieres May 5-12 at the Cultural Center's Storefront Theater. ( 66 E. Randolph St., theseldoms.org )
Across the street at the Chicago Cultural Center, Antibody Corporation's Adam Rose presents Versus April 28-30. The experimental choreographer/performance artist imagined Versus as an investigation of the moving body in tandem with passages of "Inglash", a fabricated language. Seats are first-come, first-served for this free performance.
Choreographers Rennie Harris and Michael Sakamoto find surprising similarities between butoh and hip-hop in Flash, The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago's final engagement of the season. Multimedia and choreographic elements address social resistance and identity through the lens of two dance forms born out of postwar unrest. ( 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Colum.edu/dance-center )
Running April 4-May 21, Chicago Human Rhythm Project ( CHRP ) produces the 2nd annual Stomping Grounds Festival, a series of free performances featuring percussive dance companies in neighborhoods throughout the city. CHRP resident tap ensemble BAM! is joined by Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theatre, Mexican Folkloric Dance Company of Chicago, Muntu Dance Theatre and the Trinity Irish Dancers. ( chicagotap.org )
The Athenaeum Theatre hosts local stalwarts Hedwig Dances April 8-9 and Nomi Dance Company May 14. Hedwig's inner math geek emerges as artistic director Jan Bartoszek revives the stunning, origami-inspired ASCENDance ( 2013 ), and premieres new work centering on triangles and the number three. Nomi's spring engagement recruited three choreographers to make or reimagine works inspired by late members of Chicago's dance community. ( 2936 N. Southport Ave., athenaeumtheatre.org )
The Museum of Contemporary Art's Edlis Neeson Theater hosts choreographer-of-the-moment Kyle Abraham April 28-May 1. Abraham's When the Wolves Came In is a comment on past and recent civil right movements. The recent MacArthur Foundation "Genius" investigates how far we've come, and how far we have to go, with fluid choreography that fuses contemporary and hip-hop dance. ( 220 E. Chicago Ave., mcachicago.org ) .