Thursday, May 2, 2013
THODOS DANCE CHICAGO DEVELOPS AND CELEBRATES ITS DANCERS' SKILLS AS CHOREOGRAPHERS AT
13 TH NEW DANCES SERIES, JULY 19-21 AT THE RUTH PAGE
Thodos Dance Chicago will celebrate 13 years of dance creation with its annual New Dances performance series, July 19-21, 2013 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street, Chicago. Performances are Friday and Saturday, July 19 and 20 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, July 21 at 5 pm. Tickets are $35; $28 for students and seniors; $20 industry (dancers and teachers); $10 for children 12 and under and for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are on sale now at thodosdancechicago.org or by calling 312.266.6255.
Dovetailing this year's lucky 13 theme, 13 Thodos Dance Chicago ensemble members will create 10 world premieres including three collaborations for this year's festival of new work: Cara Carper and Brian Hare, John Cartwright, Caitlin Cucchiara and Diana Robertson, Annie Deutz, Ray Doñes and Jon Sloven, Kyle Hadenfeldt, Joshua Manculich, Jessica Miller Tomlinson, Alissa Tollefson and Carrie Patterson.
In addition to works created from within by TDC ensemble members, each year a guest choreographer is selected from the community to create a new work for the project. This year, Ahmad Simmons, a dancer with River North Dance Chicago, is guest choreographer for New Dances.
Through New Dances, TDC's company members are not only given the freedom to create their own new work, they are also put in a directive position to make all production decisions for their work. This includes casting their dance with dancers from within as well as outside the company in the greater Chicago dance community, scheduling rehearsal time, collaborating with lighting and costume designers, budgeting, marketing and even creating and executing a fundraiser for the project. By being nurtured and promoted within the organization, Thodos ensemble members gain much-needed hands-on experience as choreographers backed up with strong production skills. This experience will serve them well during and following their careers as performers.
Perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of New Dances for TDC's dancer/choreographers is the opportunity to be mentored during the creation process by some of Chicago's top dance professionals. This year's panel is comprised of Jeff Hancock, founding member of River North Dance Chicago, now a lecturer at Northwestern University's dance program; Kristina Fluty, movement collaborator with Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak; Willy Shives, former dancer with the Joffrey Ballet; and Meghann Wilkinson, collaborating ensemble member with Lucky Plush Productions. This diverse and knowledgeable group will come together for two extensive private showings of all ten dances. During these showings they will share their feedback, advice and expertise to help guide the choreographers as they prepare to debut their work for the public in July.
Last year's New Dances was hailed as "sharp, engaging and tightly produced" by the Chicago Tribune, boasting "top flight work...polished to a high shine" according to seechicagodance.com. Since the series' debut 12 years ago, Thodos' New Dances has provided the framework for nearly 100 Chicago-based choreographers and more than 200 dance artists to develop and showcase their skills and build their reputations. Many works from past New Dances series have entered the repertory of Thodos Dance and been showcased at festivals ranging from Dance Chicago to the prestigious Jacob's Pillow. Others were embraced and received subsequent productions by noted directors Gerald Arpino of the Joffrey and Jim Vincent of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
New Dances choreographers have gone on to set works on Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, River North Dance Chicago, Dutch National Ballet Project, Dance Kaleidoscope, Atlanta Ballet, Dance Works Chicago, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Idaho Dance Theatre, Grand Rapids Ballet, Giordano Dance Chicago, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble and the second companies of Alvin Ailey and American Ballet Theater. Likewise, Thodos New Dances choreographers have won many awards and top honors including the Ruth Page Award on two occasions, the Cliff Dwellers Award for Choreography, even a Top Chicagoan in the Arts by the Chicago Tribune. In 2009 and 2010 New Dances choreographers won the top prize in The A.W.A.R.D. Show! presented by The Joyce Theater Foundation in association with The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and On the Boards (Seattle).
About Thodos Dance Chicago
According to Melissa Thodos, company founder, artistic director and creator of this nationally unique series, "New Dances embodies one of the many things we value so much at Thodos Dance Chicago - dance creation. It is a critical component of our mission - nurturing and supporting talented dance artists from within our own ensemble by creating a platform to express their own choreographic vision."
In 1992, 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, and perhaps the only local artistic director who offers her ensemble the honor and responsibility to pursue dance as a performer, choreographer and educator.
In addition to dance creation and performance, dance education is the third critical focus of Thodos Dance Chicago's mission. As a teaching company, company members hold BAs and MFAs in dance, teach at the elementary, high school and university levels, and regularly lead workshops and master classes as part of company residencies around the country. TDC also fulfills the education component of its mission by offering dance instruction for ages 3 to adult at its rehearsal space, Chicago's Menomonee Club for Boys and Girls, where it also trains its own Thodos Youth Ensemble.
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. Current TDC ensemble members, who each teach, choreograph and perform with innovative flair, include Cara Carper, John Cartwright, Caitlin Cucchiara, Annie Deutz, Ray Dones, Alissa Tollefson, Kyle Hadenfeldt, Brian Hare, Joshua Manculich, Jessica Miller Tomlinson, Diana Robertson and Jon Sloven. Laura Gates is the company's rehearsal director and ballet mistress. The company is supported by the Illinois Arts Council - a state agency, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs - City Arts Program II, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Saints and many individual and corporate sponsors. For more information, visit thodosdancechicago.org.
All Photos by Cheryl Mann--Thodos Dance Chicago's 12th annual New Dances series in 2012: Cara Carper and Carrie Nicastro in Scaled Gray by Brian Hare; Caitlin Cucchiara in Two Too by John Cartwright; Ray Doñes and Cecilia Ferguson-Bell in Phylum by Jon Sloven; Brian Hare and Caitlin Cucchiara in Lullaby by 2012 guest choreographer Brian Enos.