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WINTER DANCE PREVIEW Conversation and experimentation
by Lauren Warnecke

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Ramping up for the big tours to roll through town in the spring, a number of exciting projects are coming to fruition. Hometown storefront choreographers are encouraging audiences to engage in thought-provoking dialogue about the choreographic process in January, while the usual suspects present promising line-ups in February and March.

—Zephyr Dance presents the aMID Festival Jan. 21-31, a two-weekend engagement at Links Hall, 3111 N. Belmont Ave., featuring mid-career artists who have continued performing beyond a conventional age. Zephyr artistic director Michelle Kranicke performs with Deborah Hay, Bob Eisen and Cynthia Oliver in the first weekend and Bebe Miller with Darrell Jones, Smith/Wymore Disappearing Acts and Pranita Jain in the second. See the January Dancin' Feats column for additional insight on the aMID Festival.

Also at Links, on Feb. 1, is the return of the popular Peep Show, Striding Lion Performance Group's instant choreography series pairing two very different choreographers with a composer to create a dance on the spot based on suggestions from the audience. Think "Who's Line is it Anyway" for dance and experimental performance.

—DanceWorks Chicago's monthly mic-night for choreographers, "Dance Chance," returns Jan. 29 and Feb. 26 at the Lou Conte Dance Studios, 1147 W. Jackson Blvd. For a $3 donation, audience members see three snippets of new or in-progress works by emerging choreographers and participate in a moderated discussion with the audience.

—Ginger Krebs' Buffer Overrun finishes its year in a process supported by a Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Grant Feb. 4-7 at the Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph St. Krebs' meticulous, mathematical look at perceptions of time resulted in a clean and crisp presentation—a clear departure in aesthetic for this School of the Art Institute of Chicago-bred performance artist and choreographer.

—The Joffrey Ballet celebrates its annual Choreographers of Color Awards March 5-6 with works by Jeffrey Circio, Christian Denice and Mariana Oliveira. The three world premieres, performed by Joffrey Academy Trainees and the Joffrey Studio Company, are presented in a fully produced concert at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's Edlis Neelson Stage, 220 E. Chicago Ave. . Joffrey's main company continues its 60th anniversary season with a mixed-rep program Feb. 10-21 called Bold Moves. The three works presented at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Pkwy., include a world premiere contemporary ballet from award winning choreographer Ashley Page and revivals of Yuri Possokhov's stunning RAkU and JirÃï KyliÃïn's Forgotten Land.

—Giordano Dance Chicago may not immediately conjure images of experimentation, but the company's return to the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago's intimate theater Feb. 4-6 for the fist time in 37 years is likely to be a risk worth taking. Audience favorites presented stripped down and super-close will be a treat to behold. The Dance Center will also host NYC-based Urban Bush Women Feb. 18-20 and San Francisco favorite Joe Goode Performance Group March 10-12.

—Thodos Dance Chicago ( TDC )'s "Chicago Revealed" program visits North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 N. Skokie Blvd., Skokie, on Feb. 20, and the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., on March 5. In addition to a reprise of Thodos' exciting 2016 premiere Sono's Journey, the program continues TDC's trend of presenting a wide range of Chicago choreographers. Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre's Kevin Iega Jeff and multi-Princess Grace awardee Robyn Mineko Williams present work alongside "Thio Kosmos," Thodos' choreographic investigation into her roots in Chicago's Greek community.

—Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's Spring Series runs March 17-20 for four days at the Harris Theater. Gustavo Ramirez Sansano's theatrical I am Mister B and Alejandro Cerrudo's The Impossible will be brought back alongside a cheeky world premiere from Hubbard Street's rehearsal director Lucas Crandall.

—After a successful performance at the Harris' Mix at Six cocktail hour, Lucky Plush Productions makes its official debut at the Harris March 3 in Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of a SuperStrip. "The Plushes" tackle a silly superhero story in the usual way, smartly integrating text, video, sound design and great dancers for a fun and accessible dance-theater experience.

—Finally, you won't want to miss the tenth anniversary of THAW, Links Hall's annual benefit party that never disappoints. Live music, performance, small bites and a flowing bar provide some of the best mixing and mingling the dance community has to offer, for a fantastic price. This year's night of ballyhoo takes place March 10 at Salvage One, 1840 W. Hubbard St.

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