Showing posts with label Harris Theater. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Harris Theater. Show all posts

Monday, February 21, 2022

English National Ballet Via Harris Theater February 24-26, 2022


ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Harris Theater Presents


Akram Khan’s Creature

English National Ballet

February 24-26, 2022

I'll be out to catch opening night of this highly anticipated international premiere on February 24th, so check back soon for my full review. Following the pivotal impact of Dust and Giselle, Akram Khan returns to English National Ballet for his third collaboration with the company.

In a dilapidated former Arctic research station, the Creature has been conscripted by a military brigade into a bold new experimental programme. He is being tested for his mental and physical ability to adapt to extreme cold, isolation and homesickness; vital qualities in mankind’s proposed colonisation of the ‘final frontiers’ on earth and beyond.

Creature is an unearthly tale of exploitation and human frontiers inspired by Georg Büchner’s expressionist classic Woyzeck, with shadows of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Drawing on themes of abandonment, isolation and the fragility of the mind, Creature is the tale of an outsider and the search for belonging.

“The outcast, the stranger, have been a common theme in my work”, says Khan. “In Creature, I am looking further into the areas related to the sense of abandonment, rage and loss.”

Jeffrey Cirio in Creature by Akram Khan © Ambra Vernuccio

Khan is joined by a brilliant creative team of Academy Award-winning designer Tim Yip, composer and sound designer Vincenzo Lamagna, lighting designer Michael Hulls and dramaturg Ruth Little.

A co-production between English National Ballet and Opera Ballet Vlaanderen
Co-Producer: Sadler’s Wells, London
Production Partner: The Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater

This engagement will include live music performed by Harris Theater Resident Company Chicago Philharmonic Society.

Tickets and more information here.

Jeffrey Cirio and Erina Takahashi in Creature by Akram Khan © Ambra Vernuccio

Thursday, January 23, 2020

REVIEW: The National Ballet Theatre of Odessa's Romeo and Juliet at Harris Theater


Guest Review: 
by Flo Mano

The National Ballet of Odessa, is recognized as one of the most prestigious institutions of classical ballet and boasts an extremely varied repertoire, carrying the honor and the task to preserve the precious heritage of the great Russian ballets.

‘Romeo and Juliet’ was performed at Chicago's Harris Theater this past Sunday, with 55 of Ukraine's most talented and brightest ballet stars, presenting the most passionate and romantic love story of our time. With the music of Sergei Prokofiev, composed in 1935, this ballet is based on William Shakespeare's timeless tale of tragic love. This ballet has been conquering the hearts of viewers around the world. This full-length, lavish production included costumes and sets brought from the Ukraine.

The main disappointment lies in Mikhail Lavrovsky's choreography, which is mostly monotonous. The various characters swaying and flailing their arms isn't enticing. The contrast was stark between dancers' high emotion and threadbare moves, even if performed nicely by high-level dancers. 

Olena Dobrianska, as the beautiful, princess Juliet and Sergeii Dotsenko, as the handsome, towering Romeo were visually striking. Yet, Lavrovsky's various duets for the couple lacked originality, often structurally a repetitious pattern of the two dancers starting widely apart, racing together and embracing, racing back apart, and then repeating the movement, with a few dramatic lifts. These frailties are all the more obvious given the soaring qualities of Sergei Prokofiev's great score, one of the most hypnotic in all of ballet. 

There are some virtues. The sword fighting and stage combat was strategically on point with theatrical and artistic blocking. The dancers are also attractive and sharp. The cast is buoyant and energetic, though most of the secondary players are given little to do. 

While Lavrovsky fails to deliver in key scenes, he deserves credit for tinkering with the ensemble dancing, injecting echoes of brisk, lively folk dance into the crowd festivities and crafting an especially eerie spectral corps of mourners.

Since 2017, the Artistic Director of The National Ballet Theatre of Odessa, Ukraine is the People’s Artist of Ukraine, Elena Baranovskaya. Production is by Garri Sevoian.

The ballet company consists of the best performers, all graduates of prestigious Ukrainian and Russian choreography schools. Many talented artists have danced with the Odessa National Opera Company in its different periods and many of them have been soloists in major international companies.

Flo Mano is a CPS elementary teacher/librarian, hairdresser, and theater/film fanatic who catches hundreds of Chicago shows annually. She volunteers at numerous film venues and theaters.


Acclaimed Ukrainian Ballet Company To Perform “Romeo & Juliet” at Harris Theater for Music and Dance, January 19, 2020 and “Swan Lake” at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, January 21, 2020

The National Ballet Theatre of Odessa, is proud to announce two performances coming to Chicagoland in January 2020.  Featuring 55 of Ukraine’s top performers, “Romeo & Juliet” will be performed at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St. in Chicago, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020 at 3 p.m., and “Swan Lake” will be performed at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.. “Romeo & Juliet” tickets are $55 - $85 , and are available by calling the box office at 312-334-7777 or through “Swan Lake” tickets are $38 - $68 and are available by calling 847-673-6300 or by visiting 

“Romeo & Juliet” is a ballet performed in two acts, set to the music of composer Sergei Prokofiev, choreographed by Michael Lavrovsky, directed by Elena Baranovskaya and produced by Garri Sevoian. The fullscale production is based on the WIlliam Shakespeare’s tragedy of the two doomed young lovers. The principal dancers are Olena Dobrianska as “Juliet” and Sergii Dotsenko as “Romeo.” 

Monday, February 18, 2019


at The Harris Theater for Music and Dance 
FEBRUARY 20, 2019

From the Dean of the John Marshall Law School to the Head Trainer of the Chicago White Sox Baseball Club, the Jurors will Participate in a Live Court Room Debate and Present the NHM Trial of Hippocrates with Non-Scripted Drama for Attendees to Experience First-Hand

In advance of the 6th NHM Trial Series event The NHM Trial of Hippocrates, the National Hellenic Museum (NHM), 333 South Halsted Street, is honored to announce the participants who will serve as the moderator, expert witness, and members of the jury for the event. Taking place on Wednesday, February 20 from 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at The Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 East Randolph Drive, The NHM Trial of Hippocrates will be a non-replicable evening of compelling and timely debate by reputable lawyers with proceedings and decisions by notable judges and jurors. Attendees are invited to participate by hearing the compelling arguments from each side and submitting their guilty or not guilty vote to literally tip the scale and make their verdict heard.

Andrea Darlas, an award-winning Radio and Television News Anchor and Reporter at WGN Radio and WGN-TV, will open the trial as the Moderator and Dr. Peter Angelos, Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago, will serve as the Expert Witness.

Members of the 2019 jury include George Bellas, Senior Partner, Bellas & Wachowski, Attorneys at Law; Darby Dickerson, Dean, The John Marshall Law School; Michael L. Galaty, Director, University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology; Hal R. Morris, Partner and Deputy General Counsel, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP; Constance Stavropoulos Palas, Vice President & Associate Counsel, Calamos Investments; Leon Platanias, Director, Robert H Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center; Emily Reusswig, Executive Director, Chicago Cultural Alliance; Leah Rippe, Vice President, Marketing & Communications, Brookfield Zoo; Herm Schneider, Head Athletic Trainer-Emeritus, Chicago White Sox Baseball Club; Kris Swanson, Vice President and Forensic Services Practice Leader, Charles River Associates; Terri E. Weaver, PhD, RN, FAAN, ATSF, Dean and Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing; and Dr. Athanasios Zervas, Associate Professor, University of Macedonia Thessaloniki Greece.

Attendees of The NHM Trial of Hippocrates will experience the court in the style of ancient Athens, for one night only, with a modern twist featuring the non-scripted wit of dynamic legal arguments, as professional lawyers debate whether the great Greek physician Hippocrates is guilty of violating his oath when administering medical care to the dying King of Thebes. The King, desperate to be cured, offered Hippocrates many treasures and riches for remedies to his several ailments. Upon his death, the king’s son and heir charged Hippocrates for violating the Oath he had written when taking up his medical practice, citing that Hippocrates stole his father’s last days. Additional information on the story of Hippocrates and oldest extant text of the Hippocratic Oath will be explored throughout the dramatic legal proceedings.

Presiding over The NHM Trial of Hippocrates will be U.S. District Judge Charles P. Kocoras (presiding), U.S. Court of Appeals Judge William J. Bauer, U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman and Cook County Circuit Judge Anna H. Demacopoulos, while the counsel will include Robert A. Clifford of Clifford Law Offices, Patrick M. Collins of King & Spalding, Tinos Diamantatos of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Christina Faklis Adair of the Cook County’s State Attorney’s Office, former U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and former U.S. Attorney Dan K. Webb of Winston & Strawn.

“We are thrilled to present the 6th installment of our NHM Trial Series with The NHM Trial of Hippocrates. This is one of the most engaging events we hold, and we have an amazing group participating this year!” said National Hellenic Museum President Dr. Laura Calamos. “This truly unique event brings Hellenism alive, including our love of learning by prompting critical thinking and citizen involvement in decision making. The lively tradition of debate and the use of juries in democracy is brought to life for all who attend, whether they are doctors, nurses, lawyers, Greek or not Greek. It’s not every day that we as ordinary individuals get to listen to some of the best attorneys in the state argue a case with all the authentic drama as if it’s an official trial.”

Doors open for The NHM Trial of Hippocrates at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $100 per person in advance and can be purchased online or by calling the Harris Theater Box Office at (312) 334.7777. For more information, visit or call (312) 655.1234.

About the National Hellenic Museum
The National Hellenic Museum (NHM) portrays and celebrates Greek history and the Hellenic legacy through educational classes, exhibits and programs. With a growing repository of over 20,000 artifacts, the Museum catalogs and highlights the contributions of Greeks and Greek Americans to the American mosaic and inspires curiosity about visitors’ own family journeys through cultural expression, oral history and experiential education. Located in Chicago’s Greektown, the NHM provides lifelong learning for the whole community using artifacts and stories to spark inquiry and discussion about the broader issues in our lives.

For more information, visit or call 312-655-1234. Follow NHM on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Two Nights Only: LUCKY PLUSH Is Back With DANCE, THEATER, HUMOR at HARRIS With TAB SHOW, 4/26 - 4/27/18

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:



Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, we've been fans of Lucky Plush's unique brand of modern dance for years. Past shows we've seen have had a compelling mix of polished production with glimpses of process as performance art. We're excited to catch TAB Show at Harris Theater. Don't miss this 2 night only event. 

Lucky Plush Productions returns to Chicago’s Harris Theater in Millennium Park Thursday and Friday, April 26 and 27, with Tab Show, featuring two works - Rink Life and Curb Candy - that highlight the company’s signature blend of layered choreography, witty dialogue, and socially relevant storytelling. 

Tab Show takes its name from an early 20th century short - or “tabloid” - version of a musical comedy, usually performed alongside other sampler-style entertainment as part of a traveling road show.

About Lucky Plush Productions from Lucky Plush Productions on Vimeo.

Tab Show opens with Rink Life, a dance theater work loosely inspired by classic roller rink culture, where people seamlessly move between anonymity and community, individual stylings and group dynamics, movement and song. The sound design is entirely generated by the performers and builds upon disparate fragments of information - partially overheard conversations, musical scales, and pop-song earworms. Rink Life builds upon Cadence, a work that Lucky Plush artistic director Julia Rhoads created for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in 2017 with music collaborator Bethany Clearfield (Grant Park Chorus, Chicago Symphony Chorus, and the band Outertown).

The second act features Curb Candy, which includes re-mixed excerpts from Lucky Plush repertory presented in an entirely new work. Look for favorite moments from the Lucky Plush dance theater canon including Surrelium, Endplay and Punk Yankees, performed by Lucky Plush ensemble members Kara Brody, Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Elizabeth Luse, Rodolfo Sánchez Sarracino, Aaron R. White and Meghann Wilkinson. Guest performers Enid Smith, Jacinda Ratcliffe, and Ethan Kirschbaum join the company for this special performance.

Tab Show begins at 7:30 p.m. both nights. Tickets are $25-$70. The Harris Theater for Music and Dance is located at 205 E. Randolph St. in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Purchase tickets online at, or call the Harris Theater Box Office,
(312) 334-7777.

On Friday, April 27, in conjunction with Tab Show, Lucky Plush will host its annual benefit bash, PLUCKY LUSH 2018. Long-time friends and new fans of Lucky Plush will enjoy a pre-show cocktail (6:30-7:30 p.m.), performance (7:30-9 p.m.) and mingle with the artists in the Level 1 Lobby for heavy appetizers and bottomless drinks (9-11 p.m.) Tickets to PLUCKY LUSH 2018 are $150 and $200 and include the best seats for the show.

For tickets, visit or call Kim Goldman, Managing Director, Lucky Plush Productions, (917) 903-5783.

Rink Life is supported by a project grant from the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation and production residency support from Door Kinetic Arts Festival (Bailey’s Harbor, WI).

Additional support for Lucky Plush’s 2017-18 season is provided by Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development, Grover Hermann Foundation, Alphawood Foundation, MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Martha Struthers Farley & Donald C. Farley Jr. Family Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, The
Peter G. & Elizabeth Torosian Foundation, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Grosvenor Capital Management, L.P., Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, LinkedIn, and Melaleuca.

About Lucky Plush Productions
Reinventing contemporary dance with humor and storytelling

Now in its 18th season, Lucky Plush Productions ( is a Chicago-based dance theater company led by founder and artistic director Julia Rhoads and managing director Kim Goldman.

Lucky Plush is committed to provoking and supporting an immediacy of presence – a palpable liveness – shared by performers in real-time with audiences. A unique hybrid of high-level dance and theater, Lucky Plush’s work is well-known for carefully crafting dramatic and rhythmic arcs, pushing its artists to move beyond the predictable by earning the exciting slippage between – and surprising coherence of – pedestrian action, realistic dialogue, abstract choreography and humor. Though rigorously composed, much of the company’s work feels like it is generated spontaneously.

Since its founding in 2000, Lucky Plush has created 30 original dance-theater works including 12 evening-length productions. In addition to regularly performing in Chicago, the company has presented in over 40 US cities from Maine to Hawaii, and its international partners span from New Zealand to Cuba. Commissioners include the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Krannert Center at the University of Illinois, Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT), Links Hall Chicago, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (MD) and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Lucky Plush has also collaborated with Lookingglass Theatre, Redmoon, Walkabout Theater and M5. Most recently, Lucky Plush presented the world premiere Rooming House last fall at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre, where it ran for three weeks with 12 sold out performances.

Lucky Plush Productions is the first and only dance company to receive the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, a recognition of the company’s exceptional creativity and impact. Other awards include creation, residency, and touring awards from National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, and National Performance Network; exchange awards from the MacArthur Foundation International Connections Fund; a presentation award from MetLife Foundation; and an achievement award from the Lester and Hope Abelson Fund for the Performing Arts at The Chicago Community Trust.

Press features include the Boston Globe's "10 Best Dance Performances of 2013," Chicago Public Radio's "Best of 2011"; the Chicago Reader's "Best of Chicago 2010"; Time Out Chicago's "The Decade's 10 Best Original Dance Works"; the Chicago Tribune's "Best of Dance 2008"; Chicago Sun Times' "Lasting memories in Dance" for 2005 and 2007, and a Time Out Chicago cover story "5 reasons to love dance in Chicago," among others. 

Lucky Plush Productions is a Harris Theater for Music and Dance resident company.

Lucky Plush Productions Tab Show biographies

Julia Rhoads (founding artistic director) has created more than 25 original works for Lucky Plush, several of which have toured extensively throughout the U.S. Additional choreography credits include Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Walkabout Theater, Redmoon and River North Dance Chicago, among others. Rhoads is the recipient of an Alpert Award in Dance, a fellowship from the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, a Chicago Dancemakers Forum lab award, a Cliff Dwellers Foundation choreography award, two Illinois Arts Council choreography fellowships, a Jacob K. Javits fellowship for graduate studies, and a 2014 Fractured Atlas Arts Entrepreneurship Award for spearheading Creative Partners, an innovative nonprofit financial model shared by Lucky Plush Productions, Eighth Blackbird and Blair Thomas & Company. Rhoads is a former member of San Francisco Ballet and ensemble member of XSIGHT! Performance Group. She received her BA in History from Northwestern University, her MFA in Performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and she has taught in the dance and theater programs of several Chicago-area colleges and universities. She is currently a part-time lecturer and dance advisor at the University of Chicago’s Department of Theater and Performance Studies.

Kara Brody is in her second season with Lucky Plush Productions, where she joined the touring company of Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip, and is an originating member of Rooming House. She is a native of Detroit, Michigan and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Wayne State University in 2016 with a BFA in Dance. As an undergraduate student, she performed works by Doug Varone, Dwight Rhoden, Trey McIntyre, Steffanie Batten Bland, and Ron de Jesus. In 2014, she was nationally recognized for her performance in Rhoden's Hissy Fits by ACDA/Dance Magazine. Brody recently performed in Brendan Fernandez's Art by Snapchat at the Museum of Contemporary Art. She is currently in a project with Khecari under the direction of Jonathan Meyer and Julia Antonick and is working with the Cambrians for their new project, Chicago Dances.

Michel Rodiriguez Cintra joined Lucky Plush as a touring member of The Better Half, and is an originating ensemble member for The Queue, Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip, and Rooming House. Born in Havana, Cintra is a former principal member of Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, and also danced with Hedwig Dances, and Concert Dance Inc., and as a guest artist with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. As a founding member and co-choreographer with The Cambrians, Michel was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 To Watch” in 2014. Choreography credits include works for Hedwig Dances, one of which was a finalist in the A.W.A.R.D Show 2010, Visceral Dance Chicago’s Solus and Dance in the Parks, among others. Cintra was named one of “The Men of 2010” by Time Out Chicago, and is the recipient of the 2013 3Arts Award in Dance. In addition to being an ensemble member of Lucky Plush Productions. Cintra is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago and has taught master classes nationally and internationally.

Elizabeth Luse is originally from Orlando, Fl and began dancing at The School of Performing Arts. She holds a B.S. in Ballet Performance from Indiana University where she studied with Leslie Peck, Violette Verdy, and Guoping Wang. Since moving to Chicago, Luse has danced with Winifred Haun and Dancers, Nomi Dance Company, Dance in the Parks, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. She has worked as a guest artist with Ballet Quad Cities, Madison Ballet, Ron de Jesus Dance, and Emily Stein Dance. In addition to performing, she has taught for Visceral Dance Center, The Actors Gymnasium, and is currently on faculty at the Joffrey Academy of Dance. 

Rodolfo Sánchez Sarracino was born in Cuba where he graduated from the National School of Arts Instructors and studied at the University of Arts. He was a principal dancer with Danza Teatro Retazos from 2007-2016 during which time he toured internationally to Italy, Sweden, the U.K., the U.S., Uruguay and Argentina. He has danced in choreography by Isabel Bustos, Stéphane Boko, Miguel Azcue, Pepe Hevia, Venetia Stifler, among others. In addition to working with Lucky Plush, Sarrancino is a member of Concert Dance Incorporated.

Aaron R. White, a Chicago native, earned his MFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts and his BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, both in Dance Performance and Choreography. White’s performance experience includes the Sean Curran Company, Project 44, and Trainor Dance, along with a host of other choreographers primarily based in New York City. As a choreographer, he has created work with Opera Lafayette of Washington D.C, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Theater Department, Dance Africa Pittsburg, and for a variety of summer programs. As a master instructor, he has taught at The American Dance Festival, New York University Tisch School of the Arts, Point Park University, Barnard College at Columbia University, University of Hawaii – Manoa, Towson University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Gibney Dance and Dance New Amsterdam. Most recently, White participated in the prestigious SpringBoard Danse Montreal, which invites 120 dancers from 36+ countries to work with various international dance companies and choreographers. As a Reiki Master-Teacher, White wishes to be a beacon of Light to support others, illuminate fears, and facilitate healing through Reiki, education, dance, and dialogue.

Meghann Wilkinson has been an ensemble member with Lucky Plush Productions since 2004, where she has originated roles in Lulu Sleeps, Cinderbox 18, The Sky Hangs Down Too Close, Punk Yankees, The Better Half, Cinderbox 2.0, The Queue, Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip and Rooming House, among others. She has also been a recurring ensemble member of The Arrow with The Neo-Futurists. She is a former company member of Mordine and Company and has performed in Chicago with Smith/Wymore Disappearing Acts and Peter Carpenter Performance Project. Wilkinson has been a guest teacher and choreographer for Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, Cecchetti Council of America, and Evanston Dance Ensemble. She was Assistant Choreographer for Lookingglass Theatre’s The Great Fire and movement director for Walkabout Theater’s Crow. In 2016, she was a participant in Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute and completed a certificate in Permaculture Design with Midwest Permaculture. Wilkinson has organized for the Chicago Seminar on Dance and Performance and the Society of Dance History Scholars. She has taught at Northwestern University, Dance Center Evanston, Thodos Dance Chicago, and Visceral Dance Chicago, as well as national and international master classes with Lucky Plush Productions. She is currently a part-time faculty member in the dance and theater programs at Columbia College Chicago.

Originally from Oakland, CA, Ethan Kirschbaum (guest performer) began his dance career as an apprentice with the Savage Jazz Dance Company while still in high school. Travelling to New York City to attend the Ailey School/Fordham University B.F.A. program, Kirschbaum graduated summa cum laude with departmental honors in dance performance. While in his junior year, he joined Hubbard Street 2, dancing and teaching workshops around the globe while concurrently completing his degree. He has performed with the Santa Fe Opera, and danced internationally including Canada, Mexico, Holland, Germany, Israel, Switzerland, Luxembourg, France, and Russia. In 2011, Ethan moved to Saarbrücken, Germany to dance with Donlon Dance Company at the Saarländisches Staatstheater under the direction of Marguerite Donlon. He is currently on faculty at the Lou Conte Dance Studio. After completing five seasons with River North Dance Chicago, Kirschbaum is a freelance artist performing at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, choreographing locally, and teaching nationally as a guest to dance studios and university programs alike.

Jacinda Ratcliffe (guest performer) graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in Dance and Psychology, then trained on scholarship at Lou Conte Dance Studio under Claire Bataille. She has received additional training through intensives at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Washington School Of Ballet, and Ballet Híspanico. While living in Chicago, she danced as an apprentice with Project Bound Dance in addition to working freelance. Most recently, she performed in Frankenstein AI: A Monster Made By Many at Sundance Film Festival. She is currently based out of New York City.

Enid Smith (guest performer) earned her BFA in contemporary dance from the North Carolina School of the Arts. In New York City, she performed with Ivy Baldwin Dance, The Merce Cunningham Repertory Understudy Group, Anita Cheng Dance, and MAC Cosmetics among others. Since moving to the Chicago area in 2007, she has presented her own work under the name enidsmithdance, collaborated with The North Shore Choral Society and the artists of Articular Facet, and worked extensively with The Evanston Dance Ensemble and ede2. She can be seen in The Retreat: One Week with Khecari in June of 2018. She currently teaches advanced modern at Dovetail Studios and Dance Center Evanston and maintains a massage therapy practice.

Bethany Clearfield (music collaborator, Rink Life) earned a masters degree from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, then she returned home to Chicago to quickly become a fixture on the vibrant choral scene. Specializing in early and new music, Clearfield performs as both soloist and ensemble member with the Grant Park Chorus and Orchestra, Music of the Baroque, and the William Ferris Chorale, and is also a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus. Clearfield also holds a jazz studies degree from Roosevelt University and remains in demand as a jazz, folk, and session singer, performing her original compositions with the band Outertown.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

ONE NIGHT ONLY: Lucky Plush Debuts Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip

Chicago's Lucky Plush Productions is celebrating its 15th Anniversary with the creation and debut of a new dance-theater work,
Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip

 All Production Photos by Cheryl Mann, graphic design by Liviu Pasare

Commissioned by Chicago's Harris Theater for Music and Dance and the Pamela Crutchfield Dance Fund of the Imagine Campaign, this new evening-length work from Lucky Plush seamlessly blends comic book graphics, sound effects, and immersive video to create an experience like none other - contemporary dance theater meets animated graphic novel. 

Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip will premiere Thursday, 
March 3, 2016 at 7:30 p.m., marking the debut of Lucky Plush Productions at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St. in Chicago's Millennium Park. Tickets are $40-$10. Purchase tickets online at, or by calling The Harris Theater Box Office, (312) 334-7777.

Featuring Lucky Plush's signature blend of nuanced dialogue, complex choreography, and off-the-cuff improvisation, SuperStrip follows a group of washed up superheroes attempting to reinvent themselves by starting a non-profit think tank for do-gooders. Complex training missions and specialized movement techniques bring structure to their collective, but the unlikely supers are unable to find a shared mission and brand. In the struggle to achieve consensus, they discover that real-world problems are far more complex than singular forces of evil, and that having power is part of the problem.

Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip is a collaboration among Lucky Plush's founder, director and choreographer Julia Rhoads, composer Michael Caskey, visual designer Liviu Pasare, lighting designer Kevin Rechner, sound designer Mikhail Fiksel and costume designer Jeff Hancock.  

Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip is commissioned and presented by the Harris Theater for Music and Dance and the Pamela Crutchfield Dance Fund of the Imagine Campaign. Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign supports the creation of Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip through a creative and technical residency funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation. SuperStrip is also supported through a production residency at Martha's Vineyard's The Yard, and preview performances at Hope College (MI) and Diana Wortham Theatre (NC).

Additional support for SuperStrip is provided by project grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation. Season support of SuperStrip is provided through operating grants from the Grover Hermann Foundation, the Alphawood Foundation, the MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Peter G. and Elizabeth Torosian Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

In addition to Producing Artistic Director Julia Rhoads, the Company Manager of Lucky Plush is Kim Goldman, and the current ensemble includes Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Daniel Gibson, Marc Macaranas, Elizabeth Luse, Melinda Jean Myers, Benjamin Wardell and Meghann Wilkinson.

For more information, visit or follow them on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Trip the Light Fantastic:  The Making of SuperStrip
(pictured, from left) Lucky Plush Productions ensemble members as their “super” alter egos in Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip - Michel Rodriguez Cintra (Springster), Meghann Wilkinson (Sparky Lightstep), Benjamin Wardell (The Big Liberjinski), Elizabeth Luse (Professor Visioné), Daniel Gibson (Rapid Glitch), Melinda Myers (Mmm) and Marc Macaranas (Shadow). Photo by Cheryl Mann, graphic design by Liviu Pasare.

Kudos To Our Friends at Lucky Plush Productions On Their Prestigious MacArthur Award

Lucky Plush Productions Receives Prestigious MacArthur Award
for Extraordinary Creativity and Effectiveness

Big congrats to our friends over at Lucky Plush Productions! Here at ChiIL Live Shows & ChiIL Mama we've been fans of the creative dance stylings of Lucky Plush for years. We're thrilled to announce they were just awarded the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. 

Through this award, the MacArthur Foundation recognizes exceptional nonprofit organizations that demonstrate creativity and impact, and invests in their long-term sustainability with sizable one-time grants. 

Led by founder and artistic director Julia Rhoads, Lucky Plush Productions creates a hybrid form of dance theater that blends nuanced dialogue, lush choreography, and unexpected humor. The company has premiered more than 30 original works, including 13 evening-length dance theater productions, and has built a national reputation for work that is both thought provoking and relatable. The company has performed in more than 40 venues, nationally and internationally, in just the past five seasons.

"Receiving the MacArthur Award is both an honor and a financial grace for Lucky Plush Productions. It validates over 15 years of dedicated risk-taking, inspires a renewed sense of responsibility and purpose in fulfilling our mission, and will deepen our efforts to create a sustainable model for our work," said Julia Rhoads, Founder and Producing Artistic Director, Lucky Plush Productions.

Lucky Plush is committed to moving the dance field forward through risk taking and innovation, coupled with consistently responsible administrative and financial practice. It collaborates widely with performance arts groups and presenters and it consistently hires and collaborates with the city's most highly sought-after talent. 

In 2009, well before it was a regular practice, Lucky Plush began inviting audiences into the creative process by building a website where people could comment, donate material, and engage in conversations about the work's content. 

In addition, Lucky Plush also led the effort to establish Creative Partners, a collaborative effort with eighth blackbird and Blair Thomas and Company to provide for a shared full time development staff to drive growth and generate new resources.

Lucky Plush also is the first Chicago dance company that the Harris Theater for Music and Dance has both commissioned and fully presented. In just two weeks at the Harris, Lucky Plush debuts Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip, Thursday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. 

In SuperStrip, the ensemble plays a group of washed up superheroes whom attempt to reinvent themselves as a non-profit think tank, complete with comic book graphics, sound effects and immersive video. For tickets and information, visit or call (312) 334-7777.
In addition to Julia Rhoads, the company manager of Lucky Plush is Kim Goldman, and the current ensemble includes Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Daniel Gibson, Marc Macaranas, Elizabeth Luse, Melinda Jean Myers, Benjamin Wardell and Meghann Wilkinson. 

For more information, visit or follow the company on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

More about The MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions

The MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions has been presented annually since 2006 to organizations across the country and around the world that demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness. Lucky Plush Productions will use the $200,000 that accompanies its MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions to increase its reserve fund, with a small portion earmarked for technology upgrades and marketing.

This year's 14 recipients are drawn exclusively from Chicago's diverse arts and culture community in order to strengthen the city's vibrant cultural life and underscore the Foundation's commitment to its hometown. 

"These superbly imaginative organizations exemplify Chicago's thriving arts and culture community, which is vibrant and economically vital to the region," said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. "Support for these diverse and leading organizations reflects our enduring commitment to Chicago and to its cultural life that enriches us all."

According to MacArthur, the Award is not only recognition for past leadership and success but also an investment in the future. For these Awards, the Foundation does not seek or accept nominations. To qualify, organizations must demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness; have reached a critical or strategic point in their development; show strong leadership and stable financial management; have previously received MacArthur support; and engage in work central to one of MacArthur's core programs.

Each year, MacArthur supports more than 300 arts and culture group in Chicago, awarding more than $10 million in grants, mostly through general operating support. Additional information about this year's MacArthur Awards is at

Monday, July 7, 2014

FREE TICKETS RELEASE THIS WEEK, JULY 8 & 9 Chicago Dancing Festival: August 20-23, 2014


Chicago Dancing Festival founders Lar Lubovitch and Jay Franke are pleased to announce today additional works being added to the 2014 Festival lineup, including two more World Premieres, plus plans for a pre- and post-performance sponsors party around the “Celebration of Dance” Grand Finale performance, Saturday, August 23. Free tickets for the Festival’s indoor performances become available to the public this week, July 8 and 9 The 2014 Chicago Dancing Festival, featuring top ballet, modern and hip-hop companies from Chicago and across the country, is set to take place August 20 – 23.

The Joffrey Ballet 
in 'Bells' by Yuri Possokhov
Dancers: Temur Suluashvili and Victoria Jaiani
Photo by Cheryl Mann

Additional Programming
Chicago-based choreographer Ron De Jesus, a former dancer with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and now Artistic Director of Ron De Jesus Dance, has been commissioned by the Dancing Festival to create a new duet for the dancing male pair of Ben Wardell (Nexus Project, Lucky Plush Productions, formerly Hubbard Street Dance Chicago) and Michel Rodriguez (Nexus Project, formerly Hedwig Dances). Transition Zone will premiere as part of the Festival’s “Dances for 2” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., in two performances, Friday, August 22.

New York-based choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie, who has set work on and collaborated with pop stars like Beyoncé as well as highly regarded institutions like The Juilliard School, the Alvin Ailey B.F.A. Program and tap legend Savion Glover, has been commissioned by the Festival to create a new work for the student dancers of After School Matters, to premiere on the Pritzker “Celebration of Dance” program, August 23.

These new commissioned works are in addition to the previously announced World Premiere the Festival has commissioned from New York mixed-genre choreographer Kyle Abraham for the dancers of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, entitled Counterpoint. This work, to be performed at the Harris Theater as part of the “Classics and Creations” program August 20, is set to Tu Non Mi Perderai Mai by Peter Gregson and Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor: Third Movement, performed by Arthur Rubinstein.   The full schedule of performances follows below.

“Last Dance” Sponsors Party
This year, the Chicago Dancing Festival hosts “Last Dance,” a party to acknowledge the sponsors whose support is crucial to keeping the Festival’s performances free for the public.  “Last Dance” takes place Saturday, August 23, on the Terrace at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph Street.  The evening includes pre-show cocktails beginning at 6 pm followed by reserved seating for the performance at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, then a post-show picnic with cocktails and a chance to mingle with the artists.  Those interested in donating or learning more about sponsorship opportunities can visit or, for questions, call 773-609-2335.

Ticket Release This Week
Tickets for the indoor performances at Harris Theater and Museum of Contemporary become available this week.  All tickets are free but tickets for indoor events must be reserved in advance through each venue’s box office. 

Tickets for the August 20 program at the Harris Theater will be released Tuesday, July 8 at noon, available in person at the Harris Theater Box Office, 205 E. Randolph Drive, or by calling (312) 334-7777.  Limit two (2) tickets per order; tickets ordered by phone will be held at Will-Call.

Tickets for the August 22 programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art will be release Wednesday, July 9 at noon, available in person at the MCA Stage Box Office, 220 E. Chicago Avenue, or by calling (312) 397-4010.  Limit two (2) tickets per order; tickets ordered by phone will be held at Will-Call.

No tickets are needed for the outdoor Pritzker Pavilion events, including the Opening Night Simulcast presented by the Harris Theater on August 20 and the Grand Finale performance on August 23. 

Any empty seats or tickets unclaimed at 15 minutes prior to curtain time will be released to those in a Stand-by line.  Stand-by lines begin one hour before each performance, in person only. All seating is general admission. 

Chicago Dancing Festival 2014 Schedule

Wednesday, August 20 – 7:30 pm
Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Street
“Classics and Creations”
The Chicago Dancing Festival opening night program will be simulcast on the outdoor screen of the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, thanks to Presenting Sponsor, the Harris Theater. 
  • Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Counterpoint, CDF original commission by Kyle Abraham          
  • The Juilliard School, The Jig Is Up by Eliot Feld
  • Martha Graham Dance Company, Errand into the Maze by Martha Graham
  • Stars of American Ballet*, Fancy Free by Jerome Robbins
  • The Joffrey Ballet, Bells (excerpt) by Yuri Possokhov

Chelsea Bonosky 
in 'Belladonna' by Adam Barruch
Photo by Nel Shelby

Friday, August 22 – 6 pm and 8 pm
Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Avenue
“Dances for 2”
  • Adam Barruch, Belladonna by Adam Barruch
  • The Joffrey Ballet, Bells (excerpt) by Yuri Possokhov
  • Martha Graham Dance Company, Errand into the Maze by Martha Graham
  • Ron De Jesus Dance*, Transition Zone, CDF original commission by Ron De Jesus
  • Pam Tanowitz Dance*, Passagen by Pam Tanowitz (live music)

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Spring Series
"Falling Angels" Dress Rehearsal by Jiri­ Kylian 
Photo by Todd Rosenberg Photography

Saturday, August 23 – 7:30 pm
Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph Street
“Celebration of Dance” Grand Finale
  • After School Matters, CDF original commission by Darrell Grand Moultrie
  • The Joffrey Ballet, Nine Sinatra Songs by Twyla Tharp
  • The Juilliard School, The Jig Is Up by Eliot Feld
  • Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Falling Angels by Jiří Kylián
  • Rennie Harris Puremovement*, Students of the Asphalt Jungle by Dr. Rennie Harris
  • Stars of Washington Ballet Brooklyn Mack and Maki Onuki, pas de deux from Le Corsaire by Marius Petipa

All programs are subject to change.

*CDF Debut

About the Chicago Dancing Festival
Established in 2007, the Chicago Dancing Festival was founded to elevate awareness of dance in Chicago, to increase accessibility to the art form and to provide inspiration for local artists.  Its mission is to present a wide variety of excellent dance, enrich the lives of the people of Chicago and provide increased accessibility to the art form, thereby helping create a new audience.  Its vision is to raise the national and international profile of dance in the city, furthering Chicago as the “dance capital of the world” (as Mayor Rahm Emanuel put it at the 2012 Chicago Dancing Festival). 

Lar Lubovitch (Founder, Artistic Director) is one of America's most versatile and highly acclaimed choreographers and founded the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company 45 years ago.  In the years since, he has choreographed more than 100 dances for his New York-based company, which has performed in nearly all 50 American states as well as in more than 30 foreign countries.  Born in Chicago, Mr. Lubovitch was educated at the University of Iowa and the Juilliard School in New York.

Jay Franke (Founder, Artistic Director) began his formal training at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas.  In 1993, he was selected as a Finalist for the Presidential Scholar in the Arts and accepted into the Juilliard School.  Upon receiving his BFA in Dance from the Juilliard School, Mr. Franke went to work with the Twyla Tharp Dance Company, “THARP!”  Mr. Franke has since danced with The 58 Group, Lyric Opera Ballet Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and was a leading dancer in the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company from 2005 to 2010.

The Chicago Dancing Festival is grateful for its 2014 supporters including: InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, Official Hotel Partner; Museum of Contemporary Art; Harris Theater for Music and Dance; City of Chicago, Millennium Park; The Robert and Jamie Taylor Foundation; David Herro and Jay Franke; Illinois Arts Council; National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; The Chicago Community Trust; Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development; The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust; and the Irving Harris Foundation. The Harris Theater is proud to have the support of The Northern Trust Company as its 2014-2015 season sponsor.

For more information on the Chicago Dancing Festival, its history and programs, visit

Monday, February 24, 2014

Thodos Dance Winter Concert at Harris Theatre #dance

Winter Concert 2014


A world premiere collaboration 
Jeanne Gang
Founder and Principal
Studio Gang Architects 
Melissa Thodos
Founder and Artistic Director
Thodos Dance Chicago 

The return of
A Light in the Dark, the story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan
co-choreographed by 
Melissa Thodos 
Broadway legend 
Ann Reinking

The world premiere of
by Lucas Crandall 
Ballet Master
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

And TDC  New Dances 2013 standout 
Panem Nostrum Quoditianum
("Our Daily Bread")
by Ahmad Simmons
River North Dance Chicago



Thodos Dance ensemble members at one of Studio Gang's signature Chicago structures,  
the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo (photos by Katie Graves.) 

Melissa Thodos                                             Jeanne Gang 
Photo by Cheryl Mann                                   © Sally Ryan Photography, Courtesy of Studio Gang Architects



Pictured:  Thodos ensemble members Alissa Tollefson as Anne Sullivan and Jessica Miller Tomlinson as Helen Keller; Melissa Thodos with Ann Reinking.  Photos by Cheryl Mann



Leading artists from Chicago's culture scene, Melissa Thodos and Jeanne Gang, have combined their singular talents to create a cross-disciplinary, world-premiere dance that explores the fascinating worlds of-and intersections among-dance, architecture and physics.

The program also boasts the return of TDC's acclaimed story ballet A Light in the Dark, the story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, co-choreographed by Melissa Thodos and Broadway legend Ann Reinking; Tsuru, a world premiere by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's Lucas Crandall; and Panem Nostrum Quoditianum (Latin for "our daily bread") by Ahmad Simmons of River North Dance Chicago.

Two shows only at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 East Randolph Street, Chicago, on Saturday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 9 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20-$60; half off for students, seniors and industry. Purchase tickets at the Harris by calling (312) 334-7777 or visiting

More about the Thodos Dance Chicago/Studio Gang Architects collaboration 


(Photo on right, from left) Thodos Dance Chicago Artistic Director Melissa Thodos and Jeanne Gang at an initial meeting at Studio Gang Architects (photo on right, from left: Jeanne Gang and Melissa Thodos; photos by Claire Cahan). 
Melissa Thodos, founder and artistic director of Thodos Dance Chicago, is the only female choreographer in Chicago to have helmed her own mid-sized, contemporary dance company for more than two decades with the unique mission of providing her ensemble dancers a platform to pursue dance as a performer, choreographer and educator.   

Jeanne Gang is founder and principal of Studio Gang Architects, recognized as one of architecture's most innovative, well-regarded, and closely watched firms - and one uniquely interested in projects aimed at connecting, enhancing, and restoring urban and natural landscapes. 

Studio Gang Architects is designing an interactive structure that combines art and science, tapping into cutting-edge research being performed by physicist Sidney Nagel and the Nagel Group at the University of Chicago.This new process, informally called "jamming," is being used to create vacuum-supported membrane structures with load-bearing properties. Responding to movement and other stimuli, the structure, stage set and dancers will transform into a live study of motion, material, shape, composition and light. 

According to Gang, "Studio Gang Architects has long admired the work of Thodos Dance Chicago and its mission to inspire expression. As architects we are interested in how TDC uses the body's physicality and the mechanism of performance to catalyze community and creative discovery. We are thrilled to collaborate with Thodos Dance Chicago on this unique project exploring parallels between the worlds of audience and performer, art and science, movement and stasis."

"Jeanne and her Studio Gang colleagues are true visionaries, and we've so enjoyed bringing our different but not altogether dissimilar creative worlds together with this project," Thodos added. "This collaboration reinforces many facets of Thodos Dance Chicago's mission of inspiring expression through performance, education and creation. This work will reflect the transformative power of dance and design as we blend our visions, fueled by cutting-edge science and the body, light and atmosphere, form and function, and create a brand new environment for our audiences to experience."

More about A Light in the Dark, the story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, back by popular demand

Back by popular demand, Thodos Dance Chicago's Winter Concert 2014 will also boast a revival of the company's critically acclaimed smash hit A Light in the Dark, the story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan. This full-length story ballet, co-choreographed by Melissa Thodos and Broadway legend Ann Reinking, tells the intimate family story of Helen Keller, the extraordinary woman who was deaf and blind yet went on to become a world-famous writer, political activist and inspiration to all, and her teacher Anne Sullivan, who led Helen into a world of education, activism and intellectual celebrity. 
A Light in the Dark features original music by composer Bruce Wolosoff, and was created in collaboration with dance legend Gary Chryst, rehearsal and stage direction; Nathan Tomlinson, TDC's resident lighting designer; and Nathan Rohrer, TDC's resident costume designer.  

Hedy Weiss, dance critic with the Chicago Sun-Times, named the 2013 debut of A Light in the Dark one of the "Top 10 Dances of 2013," calling it "a feast for the senses...a powerful portrait of the meaning of communication, movement, independence, freedom and love." The Chicago Tribune hailed it as "a visceral illustration of the power of dance to enlighten." Dance Magazine wrote "the choreography weaves a tale with an almost mythic tone that gives us great new insight into Helen Keller's world." 

The making of A Light in the Dark was the subject of Shine, a half-hour documentary captured through the lens of Emmy Award-winning Chicago filmmaker Christopher Kai Olsen. The documentary, which debuted on WTTW-TV, Channel 11 last September, will be rebroadcast on Channel 11 on Sunday, February 2 at 2:30 p.m., less than three weeks before the dance is reprised in Skokie and again at the Harris in March.    

Thodos Dance Chicago is conducting extensive outreach to Chicago's vision- and hearing-impaired communities by offering complimentary tickets, discounted tickets, and special services including pre-show Touch Tours of the set, live audio description of the performance via two-way headsets, and braille and large-print programs. These services, piloted with great success last year, allow this critically important audience to experience contemporary dance, many for the first time, and in particular this creative retelling of the story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan through dance.

In addition, Thodos Dance has created Connections, an experiential education outreach component targeting school and community groups that will link the story of Helen Keller, A Light in the Dark and contemporary dance to spur discussions about disability awareness.

Enjoy excerpts a performance of 
A Light in the Dark, the story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan

Also on Thodos' Winter Concert 2014 program

Internationally established choreographer Lucas Crandall, Rehearsal Director at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, was tapped by Thodos Dance Chicago to set a new work that also will premiere at Winter Concert 2014. Titled Tsuru, this new full-company work embodies the search to find inner freedom amidst an environment full of adversity, and embraces the idea of the liberation of the soul. 

Crandall has been creating works since 1982, and his pieces have been performed in the United States and abroad. Prior to re-joining Hubbard Street earlier this year, Crandall most recently  served as a guest teacher for the Ballet du Grand Theatre de Geneve, guest Ballet Master for Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal and Rehearsal Director for Northwest Dance Project.  

Making the jump from TDC's New Dances series last summer to the company's official repertoire at Winter Concert 2014 is Panem Nostrum Quoditianum (Latin for "our daily bread") by guest choreographer Ahmad Simmons, a dancer with River North Dance Chicago. 

Simmons first caught Melissa Thodos's eye back in 2006 when he was her student at the Broadway Theatre Project in Florida, so they have enjoyed a special connection even prior to his arrival on Chicago's dance scene. 

Panem Nostrum Quoditianum is a spiritual, lyrical piece which explores the roots of Ahmad's learning; the dancers experience trust, community and freedom as they challenge their bodies to move beyond the mind. The Chicago Tribune called it "robust in technique and thought-provoking in theme, a sincere, straightforward exploration of spiritual matters in dance, a recitation of 'The Lord's Prayer' boldly part of its accompaniment."
About Thodos Dance Chicago 

In 1992, Melissa Thodos, a young Evanston-born, Chicago-based dancer and choreographer, was frustrated with the lack of opportunities for local dancers to work in what in her mind was the obvious environment for any well-rounded dance professional:  A place to perform.  A place to create. And a place to educate. Fast-forward 20 years, and Thodos is the only female choreographer to have helmed her own mid-sized, contemporary dance company in Chicago for two decades with this unique mission.

Today, Thodos Dance Chicago (TDC) is an ensemble of twelve versatile dance artists with a captivating style that uses a variety of dance forms. The company's unique mission of inspiring expression through dance education, dance creation and dance performance has established Thodos Dance Chicago as an innovative presence in American contemporary dance.  Thodos Dance Chicago features the American voice in contemporary dance and has created two critically acclaimed story ballets.  In addition to performing works by Melissa Thodos and resident artists, TDC performs a diverse array of works created by other reputable choreographers: Bob Fosse, Ann Reinking, Lar Lubovitch, Shapiro & Smith, Jon Lehrer, Michael Anderson, Zachary Whittenburg, Amy Ernst, Ron De Jesús, Gustavo Ramírez Sansano and KT Nelson. TDC ensemble members themselves also create highly-charged, illuminating world premieres every year in the company's acclaimed New Dances choreography series.  

Thodos Dance Chicago ensemble members, who each teach, choreograph and perform with innovative flair, include veterans John Cartwright, Annie Deutz, Elizabeth Dickson, Alissa Tollefson, Kyle Hadenfeldt, Joshua Manculich, Jessica Miller Tomlinson, Jon Sloven and Diana Winfree.  New ensemble members this season are Tenley Dorrill, Brandon Harneck and Laura Zimmerer. Laura Gates is the company's rehearsal director and ballet mistress.  

Thodos Dance Chicago continues to expand its artistic and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Founder and Artistic Director Melissa Thodos, Executive Director Gail Ford, Grants and Booking Director Rick Johnston, Board President Elaine Rosenfeld Margulis, a dedicated board of directors and administrative staff, and the support of thousands of contemporary dance enthusiasts both in Chicago and nationwide.    

The company is supported by the Illinois Arts Council-a state agency, Target, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Arts Work Fund, The Morrison-Scherer Foundation, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Saints and many individual and corporate sponsors.      

For more information, visit

About Studio Gang Architects

MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang is the founder of Studio Gang Architects, a Chicago-based collective of architects, designers, and thinkers practicing internationally. Jeanne uses architecture as a medium of active response to contemporary issues and their impact on human experience. Her work with Studio Gang is designed to resonate with its specific site and culture while addressing larger global themes such as reuse and sustainability.

With this approach, Studio Gang has produced some of today's most innovative and visually compelling architecture. The firm's projects range from tall buildings like the Aqua Tower, whose façade encourages building community in the vertical dimension, to the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, where fourteen acres of biodiverse habitat are designed to double as storm water infrastructure and engaging public space.

Honored and published widely, Studio Gang's work has been exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Building Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

For more information, visit

Screen excerpts of Thodos Dance Chicago's 2013-2014 Repertoire

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