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Volledig, Emptied of Shame, Full of Life, Nov. 29 through Dec. 1

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Chicago, IL — Volledig: Emptied of Shame: Full of Life represents the stories of the artists in this project — what they experienced living through the AIDS Crisis, how they survived it, and how they are living in a world that still stigmatizes HIV and doesn't provide equal care to everyone who is affected by HIV/AIDS. It is also our recollections of the people we have known who suffered through, lived through, and died in the AIDS Crisis. This work does not try to represent every narrative within the Crisis. In fact, there are many accounts that have been lost and will never be heard. There are many voices that even now are marginalized and ignored, especially those of people of color.

Welcher explains: "With the assembled artists, I lead us through a journey of re-exploration and re-discovery of histories, memories, buried emotions, and even old wounds. In our process, we bore witness to each other and mined our collective experience for material with which we created this performance that hopefully, will allow the audience to go on the journey with us from those dark, exposed, vulnerable places to the light of the lives we lead today — emptied of shame and full of life. We refuse to be silent, to let what has transpired be unspoken and forgotten. We shall not let the world sit comfortably and look away from the tragedy that we have endured and that continues to unfold around us. Some members of this project are HIV-negative; some are HIV-positive; some have received an AIDS diagnosis. All project members have been altered by the AIDS Crisis; all have seen friends suffer; all have seen friends die."

Featuring dancers Jeff Hancock, Joseph Hutto, Cat Mahari, Merrick Mitchell, and Robert Welcher. With music by Paul Hamilton and art work by Ted Sollinger.

The work is supported by Chicago Dancemakers Forum, DCASE, Links Hall, and Old Town School of Folk Music.

The show runs Nov. 29, 30 and Dec.1, 2018 @ 7pm, Links Hall, 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL. Tickets at .

About the Artists

Paul Hamilton

Paul Hamilton has created a diverse career as a pianist, recording artist, composer, music director, voice and acting coach and filmmaker. He has amassed over 30 years experience in recitals, opera and musical theatre. He now cultivates a 2nd career in video/film production. His films have been included in the Chicago Music & Movies Festival and Macon Film Festival, and featured on the UK's "Sky Channel" and "LandscapeHD." He is currently documenting national parks and bringing attention to their survival and health in the 21st century, and creating new work for LandscapeHD.

Jeff Hancock

Jeff Hancock just completed an MFA from Hollins University in choreography, with an emphasis on somatics and queer theory. He performs, teaches, choreographs and designs movement, and clothing that moves all over the US and abroad. He examines the potential mutual influence of the performance of movement and clothing. Since 1990, throughout his years dancing for River North, Hubbard Street, Same Planet Different World and many others, his dance and design life collided, supported and informed each other. Humans, movement, and curiosity about the semiotics of clothing has fueled his long history of aesthetic exploration ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime, minimalism to excess.

Joseph Hutto

Joseph Hutto began dancing at 13 and has had a varied commercial and contemporary career in dance for over 22 yrs now. He has a BFA in dance from University of Georgia and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has worked in professional contemporary dance companies, trained in aerial arts with coaches from Cirque Du Soliel, taught jazz hip-hop contemporary and aerial at many colleges, studios, and conservatories, and gigged it commercially throughout his career appearing in music videos, commercial ads, television shows, performance events, award shows live, etc. As an out and proud member of the LGBTQ, Poz, and Kink communities ( among others ) he is ecstatic about being able to collaborate with other artists he truly respects in a work of this nature and incredibly honored to be a part of Volledig.

Merrick M. Mitchell

Merrick M. Mitchell ( Chicago, Il ) is a veteran member of the Joel Hall Dancers. His professional dance career began with the Julian Swain Inner City Dance Theatre and Joseph Holmes Dance Theatre ( under the direction of Joseph Holmes and Randy Duncan ). He holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Illinois State University and a M.A. in Leadership from Concordia University. Merrick has taught Graham based Modern at the Boitsov School of Classical Ballet and continues to teach at the Joel Hall Dance Center. He is a very active member of his church. Merrick is blessed and thankful to be able to continue to share his craft.

Cat Mahari

Cat Mahari creates work with personal and collective transformational possibilities. She is a free style hip hop and house dancer, also trained in modern, ballet, West African, Cuban Son, Chen taiji, the bop, and most recently krump, whose work is grounded in the upliftment of the African Diaspora and peoples all over the world. She is the director of 31st&Brklyn, a platform for performance art and community engagement. In 2017, Ms. Mahari became a Charlotte Street Foundation Generative Performance Artist Fellow, won Jit vs House pt II in Detroit, and in 2018 choreographed, composed the music, designed the projected media and installation for the solo mixtape series Violent/Break: Vol II as an artist in residence at High Concept Labs in Chicago.

Ted Sollinger

Ted Sollinger is classically trained as a Fine Artist and is also trained as a Graphic Artist. He attended Memphis College of Art, disciplines: figure painting/drawing, printmaking and graphic design. His education also includes sociology and art history. Ted currently maintains a working studio, Otter Art Studio, which is located in the Lincoln Square neighborhood in Chicago, IL. Ted has exhibited in Chicago, IL and Memphis, TN. His work has been recently featured in group shows in both cities and most recently in a solo show at the Center on Halsted and at the Glenwood Ave Arts Fest in Chicago, IL.

Rob Welcher

Rob is a Chicago-based contact improviser, performer, and teacher. He is a 2018 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist and a 2018 Chicago DCASE ( Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events ) individual artist grant recipient. He earned his masters degree in kinesiology at the University of Michigan. He is part of the team that facilitates the Chicago contact jam and pre-jam class. He is a frequent guest CI teacher at DePaul University and Columbia College in Chicago. Guest teaching roles outside Chicago include Ontario Regional Contact Jam ( 2018, Toronto ), NDEO's Men in Dance Conference ( 2017, UWV ), Contact Meets Contemporary Festival ( 2016, Germany ). Recent performances include the two works-in-progress performances of Volledig, and work with Kristina Fluty, Jason Torres-Hancock, Michael Schumacher, Katie Eberhardy, and Sarah Gottlieb.

About Links Hall

Links Hall encourages artistic innovation and public engagement by maintaining a facility and providing flexible programming for the research, development and presentation of new work in the performing arts. Links Hall shares a building with Constellation at 3111 N. Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618-convenient to the Belmont/Clybourn & Western CTA Bus Stop in Chicago's Roscoe Village neighborhood. For more information call 773.281.0824 or visit

Links Hall's 40th Anniversary Season ( to date ) is being made possible by: the artists researching, developing and presenting work, the audiences who will be coming out to experience the work, and by the generous supporters: Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development, The Chicago Community Trust, a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Heather Beth Henson Fund, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Joyce Foundation, Links Hall Commissioning Collective, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Martha Struthers Farley & Donald C. Farley, Jr. Family Foundation, National Performance Network, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. SeeChicagoDance and Performance Response Journal are 40th Anniversary Season partners. #PayThe40thForward!

—From a press release

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