Posted by: trailerpilot | 06:19::2009


My week’s been going pretty well so far, but two releases have me feeling even better: the Museum of Contemporary Art and The Dance Center of Columbia College have both just announced terrific 2009-2010 stage seasons.

Nora Chipaumire. Photo by Mkrtich Malkhasyan, from the film Nora by Alla Kovgan and David Hinton.

Nora Chipaumire. Photo by Mkrtich Malkhasyan, from the film Nora by Alla Kovgan and David Hinton.

The MCA’s house will open in October with lions will roar, swans will fly, angels will wrestle heaven, rains will break: gukurahundi, a collaboration between dancer/choreographer Nora Chipaumire, poet/musician Thomas Mapfumo and his long-running Chimurenga band The Blacks Unlimited; all are exiles from the shitstorm that is present-day Zimbabwe. A valuable piece of modern dance history will follow as DANCE, Lucinda Childs‘ landmark collaboration with Philip Glass and blue-chip conceptualist Sol LeWitt is reprised upon its thirtieth anniversary. Glass himself will perform works for solo piano in the theater on October 16 — something tells me anyone remotely interested in attending should move fast. Pairing well with DANCE is Anna Halprin‘s 1965 Parades and Changes, which will be recreated by a team of artists and performers led by French choreographer Anne Collod. Akram Khan Company and the National Ballet of China are in town in February with bahok, March lends the stage to local powerhouses The Seldoms for their new work Marchland (made with artist Fraser Taylor), and NYC’s downtown dance darling John Jasperse Company accompanied by ICE performs Jasperse’s latest, Truth, Revised Histories, Wishful Thinking, and Flat Out Lies. The non-dance lineup is just as hot — be sure to check out the entire season here.

Wayne McGregor | Random Dance. Photo courtesy the Dance Center of Columbia College.

Wayne McGregor | Random Dance. Photo courtesy the Dance Center of Columbia College.

If I’m not at the MCA I’ll be at the Dance Center; its season also opens in October, with recent birthday boy Merce Cunningham‘s company performing up-close and in person there rather than at the Harris. In one of my first posts I tried putting into words what seeing a company like his is like at a venue like Columbia’s; featuring two of his Events (choreographic mixtapes, if you will), this engagement should be no less stirring. On his heels will be Lucky Plush Productions, blowing out ten candles with the culmination of Julia Rhoads’ timely and courageous push to bring issues swirling around movement appropriation into the light. I missed Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan last time they were here — I’m still kicking myself — so it’s good I’ll get caught up in January with Moon WaterLin Hwai-min‘s most well-known and popular work. Another birthday party will be celebrated next season: Jump Rhythm Jazz Project‘s twentieth, which they’re marking with a triptych of remounts as well as the brand-new Mad, glad, sad (about which I need some more information before I discuss its announced assessment of “the marginalization of emotion in post-modern dance”).

For me, the adventure will really land in February and March, when the Dance Center launches its cream-of-the-multimedia-crop season-within-a-season Science, Technology and Dance. Three companies will present three premieres: Koosil-ja/danceKUMIKO bring Blocks of Continuality/Body, Image, Algorithm from their New York HQ; Mark Coniglio and Dawn Stoppiello‘s Troika Ranch presents its Loop Diver; and London it-boy Wayne McGregor visits his Random Dance Company upon the South Loop with Entity (if you click any link in this article, make it this one). Last but not least, local gem Hedwig Dances celebrates (yes) another anniversary: Its 25th will be fêted in April with the triple treat of AD Jan Bartoszek’s Dance of Forgotten Steps, Susan Marshall‘s Sawdust Palace, and Batsheva Ensemble alumna Andrea Miller‘s Dust. Columbia offers generous discounts for those purchasing subscriptions; starting July 20 you can pick yours up, and why not — it’s pretty much all hit and no miss.

Phew! I need a big mug of chamomile tea and a hot bath.



  1. It’s so great to read this today and be reminded that vibrant, responsible venues are making artistically rigorous and exciting choices even in the face of difficult economic times. These challenges are an opportunity, not an excuse to retreat to “safe” and predictable programming. Makes me want to travel to Chicago!

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