Showing posts with label Multicultural. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Multicultural. Show all posts

Monday, February 29, 2016

INCOMING: City Winery Hosts Chicago’s Las Guitarras de España and Musician/Composer Ronnie Malley

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Chicago’s Las Guitarras de España will be collaborating with musician/composer Ronnie Malley for a truly multicultural show at City Winery on Monday, March 7.

Ronnie Malley

The collaboration will explore music from the shared cultural history of the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain. The special program will also feature flamenco and Indian dance with music from the ensemble Surabhi featuring Sara Ranganathan (veena), Chihsuan Yang (violin, erhu) and Carlo Basile (guitar) just returning from Shanghai, Taiwan, and Hanoi to explore music from the Silk Road tradition. Click HERE for full show details, and to purchase tickets.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

"CELEBRATION OF LATINA|O ARTISTS” Hits Chicago For 8 Weeks January 16th through March 13th


Goodman Theatre, in collaboration with off-Loop theaters, DePaul University and Northwestern University, presents an eight-week “Celebration of Latina|o Artists,” centered around its first two productions of 2016, both of which are world premieres—Another Word For Beauty by José Rivera (starts this Saturday, January 16) and Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, adapted and directed by Robert Falls and Seth Bockley (starts February 6). Curated by Henry Godinez, Goodman Theatre Resident Artistic Associate and 2666 cast member, the celebration highlights the careers and influence of noted writers Bolaño, María Irene Fornés and Rivera and includes a slate of readings, discussions and more—many of which are free of charge. Celebration events begin January 16 and continue through March 13. For ticket reservations and information, visit

Tickets for Another Word for Beauty ($25 -$77) and 2666 ($20-$45) are available at, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn).

Highlights of “A Celebration of Latina|o Artists” include the following events:
  • Readings and panel discussions of works by José Rivera (References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot, School of the Americas, Marisol and The Hours are Feminine) and María Irene Fornés (Fefu and Her Friends, Mud, Sarita and The Conduct of Life) at venues including: Urban Theater Company, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, The Hypocrites Theater Chicago (The Den), Northwestern University and DePaul University
  • A one-night-only reading of Issac Gomez’s play, La Ruta—a new work inspired by the unsolved murders of hundreds of women in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico (the US/Mexican border city that serves as inspiration for the fictional city of Santa Teresa in 2666)—at The National Musuem of Mexican Art. Additionally, clips from Lourdes Portillo's award-winning documentary, Señorita Extraviada, will be shown
  • “Club Colombia,” a dance party with DJ at the Goodman following Another Word for Beauty 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

INCOMING: Ukrainian “ethnic chaos” band DakhaBrakha Rocks Mayne Stage With 2 Shows THIS Sunday 4/

Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar

This Sunday, April 19, at the Mayne Stage do not miss the band Rolling Stone has dubbed the "Best Break Out," DakhaBrakha, will return to Chicago to perform two shows, one at 6:00pm and again at 8:00pm. Click here for full show details and to order tickets. (18+) $25 General Admission | $30 Day Of | $40 Preferred Seating.

Fresh from lauded appearances on Prairie Home Companion and at Bonnaroo, DakhaBrakha is touring the U.S. this spring. Rolling Stone gushes that DakhaBrakha had "one of the most responsive crowds of the weekend" of their Bonnaroo performance.

DakhaBrakha is a world-music quartet from Kyiv, Ukraine. Reflecting fundamental elements of sound and soul, Ukrainian “ethnic chaos” band DakhaBrakha, create a world of unexpected new music.

The name DakhaBrakha is original, outstanding and authentic at the same time. It means “give/take” in the old Ukrainian language.

DakhaBrakha ...
Refined yet saucy, eerie yet earthy, Ukrainian music has languished in relative obscurity, though its achievements are diverse and sophisticated: complex polyphonic singing with interlocking lines so tight the ears buzz, long and philosophical epics, humorous ditties, instrumental virtuosity, and raucous dance tunes.

DakhaBrakha knows these sources well: the three female vocalists have spent many summers traveling around Ukraine’s villages collecting songs and learning from elder women in remote areas. Like these village tradition-bearers, they have spent years singing together, a fact that resonates in the beautifully close, effortlessly blended sound of their voices.

Now the group is ready to share this music with the U.S.! 

Ethno-Chaos: DakhaBrakha Reinvents Ukraine’s Unsung Roots Music With Global Finesse
A shadowy procession to the pounding of drums, to the murmur of a cello, morphs into an anthem, an invocation, a wild and wacky breakdown. Drones and beats, crimson beads and towering black lambs-wool hats all serve as a striking backdrop for an unexpected, refreshingly novel vision of Eastern European roots music. This is the self-proclaimed “ethno-chaos” of Ukraine’s DakhaBrakha, a group that feels both intimately tied to their homeland, yet instantly compelling for international audience.

“We just want people to know our culture exists,” muses Marko Halanevych of DakhaBrakha, the remarkable Kyiv-based ensemble that has broken down the tired musical framework for Ukrainian traditional music. “We want people to know as much as possible about our corner of the world.”

The quartet does far more than introduce Ukranian music or prove it is alive and well. They craft stunning new sonic worlds for traditional songs, reinventing their heritage with a keen ear for contemporary resonances. With one foot in the urban avant-garde theater scene and one foot in the village life that nurtured and protected Ukraine’s cultural wealth, DakhaBrakha shows the full fury and sensuality of some of Eastern Europe’s most breathtaking folklore.

Fresh from lauded appearances on Prairie Home Companion and at Bonnaroo, the group is touring the U.S. this autumn. Rolling Stone dubbed the band Bonnaroo's "Best Break Out," gushing that they had "one of the most responsive crowds of the weekend."

Refined yet saucy, eerie yet earthy, Ukrainian music has languished in relative obscurity, though its achievements are diverse and sophisticated: complex polyphonic singing with interlocking lines so tight the ears buzz, long and philosophical epics, humorous ditties, instrumental virtuosity, and raucous dance tunes. Ritual and ribaldry, urbane composition and rural celebration, Asian influences and Western harmony all combined to give contemporary musicians a true wealth of potential sources.

DakhaBrakha knows these sources well: the three female vocalists have spent many summers traveling around Ukraine’s villages collecting songs and learning from elder women in remote areas. Like these village tradition-bearers, they have spent years singing together, a fact that resonates in the beautifully close, effortlessly blended sound of their voices. Marko grew up steeped in village life, and draws on his rural upbringing when contributing to the group.

Yet the young musicians and actors were determined to break away from purist recreations and from the stale, schmaltzy, post-Soviet remnants of an ideology-driven folk aesthetic. Urged on by Vladyslav Troitsky, an adventuresome theater director at the DAKH Center for Contemporary Art, a cornerstone of the Kyiv arts underground, the group resolved to create something radically different. They wanted to experiment, to discover, to put Ukrainian material in a worldly context, without divorcing it from its profound connection to land and people. That’s why tablas thunk and digeridoos rumble, filling out DakhaBrakha’s sound, and yet never overshadow the deeply rooted voices and spare, yet unforgettable visual aesthetic.

“The beginning was pretty primitive,” recalls Halanevych. “We tried to find rhythms to match the melodies. We tried to shift the emphasis of these songs. We know our own material, our native music well, yet we wanted to get to know other cultures and music well. We started with the Indian tabla, then started to try other percussion instruments. But we didn’t incorporate them directly; we found our own sounds that helped us craft music.”

Through this experimentation and repurposing of instruments from other cultures to serve DakhaBrakha’s own sound, the band was guided by the restraint, the elemental approach that owed a debt to the emotionally charged minimalism of Phillip Glass and Steve Reich.

“At the same time as we explored ethnic music, we got interested in minimalism, though never in a way that was literal or obvious,” Halanevych explains. “The methods of minimalism seemed to us to be very productive in our approach to folk. The atmospheric and dramatic pieces that started our work together were created by following that method.”

This mix of contemporary, cosmopolitan savvy and intimacy with local traditions and meanings cuts to the heart of DakhaBrakha’s bigger mission: To make the world aware of the new country but ancient nation that is Ukraine. “It’s important to show the world Ukraine, and to show Ukrainians that we don’t need to have an inferiority complex. That we’re not backward hicks, but progressive artists. There are a lot of wonderful, creative people here, people who are now striving for freedom, for a more civilized way of life, and are ready to stand up for it.”

Don't miss this! Sunday, April 19, at the Mayne Stage, DakhaBrakha will return to Chicago to perform two shows, one at 6:00pm and again at 8:00pm. Click here for full show details and to order tickets. (18+) $25 General Admission | $30 Day Of | $40 Preferred Seating.

Friday, May 30, 2014

TIDES Flamenco This Friday Through Sunday at Vittum Theatre #ChiILPicksList #Multicultural #Dance #FamilyFriendly

ChiIL Mama's ChiIL Picks List for This Weekend:

Chiara Mangiameli, founder of Studio Mangiameli and female lead in Rick Bayless's acclaimed Cascabel, will be presenting her annual show at the Vittum Theater, May 30-June 1. 

ChiIL Mama has an exclusive video interview with Marina Claudio, one of the Flamenco dancers who is a friend of ours. She is not only a dancer, but also a doctor and a mom!  Hear her take on the show and also how she balances all of her roles. We're adding her interview to our long running series on How Creatives Parent and How Parents Create.

Check it out right here:

Tides will feature more than 40 dancers, of all ages and from various backgrounds, addressing the events that changed their lives through flamenco dance and song forms with live accompaniment by musicians including Carlo Basile (Las Guitarras de Espana) and percussionist Bob Garrett, soon to appear in Sting’s new musical, The Last Ship.  

ChiIL Mama will be there... will YOU?!

May 30th and 31st at 7:30pm
June 1st at 4:30pm
Tides - Studio Mangiameli Annual Show
Vittum Theater
1012 N Noble St in Chicago

Tides, directed and created by Chiara Mangiameli, is not only Studio Mangiameli's third annual student showcase but an exploration of the moments that leave indelible marks on human lives and alter the landscape of identity.

Mangiameli, whom the Chicago Tribune hailed as a "formidable flamenco dancer" for her work alongside Rick Bayless in the Lookingglass Theater production of Cascabel, has assembled over 40 dancers including a children's “Mini Flamencas” group. (*WORLDS COLLIDE ALERT:  We just found out the child of an old friend of mine is in the Mini Flamencas group too! Chicago's 6 degrees of separation is FAR closer than you think.)

Tides will also feature original live music from some of Chicago's most recognized flamenco and world music players, including Carlo Basile (Las Guitarras De España), guitarist Diego Alonso and percussionist Bob Garrett, soon to appear in Sting’s new musical, The Last Ship. World-renowned flamenco singer Vicente “El Cartucho” Griego (pictured below) will be this year’s very special guest.

Tickets $25, $15 for children 12 and under.
Free parking.

Tides - Promo Video from Chiara Mangiameli on Vimeo.


July 30th through August 24th, 2014
Cascabel with Rick Bayless featuring Chiara Mangiameli
Goodman Theater

ChiIL Mama was elated to be included in a private press breakfast with Rick Bayless & Chiara Mangiameli,when the Cascabel remount was first announced, and we can't wait to see it this summer!  Check back early and often for our original content, video interviews, stills and write ups leading up to the show.  Check back soon for our photo filled recap of TIDES.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

FREE Chinese Fine Arts Society Concert: Five Elements Project: Earth and Wood


A free concert featuring three Chicago Premieres and musicians of the CSO

Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center, May 18

Here at ChiIL Mama, we believe one of the best perks of living in a city the size of Chicago, is the amazing array of multicultural events! This one is family friendly and FREE. April was for water, and now May is Earth and Wood. Come experience The Chinese Fine Arts Society's Five Elements Project!

The Chinese Fine Arts Society (CFAS), Chicago’s resource for experiencing and appreciating the art, music and culture of China, continues its 30th anniversary celebration with the second installment in its year-long series Forces of Nature: The Five Elements Project, a musical survey of China's varied natural environment themed around “Earth and Wood” featuring three Chicago Premieres.  The “Earth and Wood” concert is presented in the Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street, Sunday, May 18 at 3 pmThe concert is free and no tickets are required.

From the Gobi desert to bamboo forests, from sweeping grasslands to mountain vistas, the majestic landscapes of China and its inhabitants are the inspiration for the “Earth and Wood” concert.  The concert primarily features both Chinese and western string instruments – violin, viola, erhu, gaohu, zhonghu – all made of wood. 

In a rare performance, Chicago erhu virtuoso Betti Xiang performs on three different pieces of the huqin family of traditional Chinese bowed string instruments.  The concert also features traditional folk music, contemporary arrangements and original compositions by world-renowned composers, including Pulitzer Prize-winner Zhou Long, renowned New York-based composer Huang Ruo, lauded San Diego-based composer Lei Liang and esteemed Beijing-based composer Ye Xiaogang.  The works are brought to life by virtuosic musicians including acclaimed Chicago pianist Winston Choi, renowned Central Conservatory-trained guzheng player YuQi Deng, along with a string quartet comprised entirely of members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  The full program includes:
·        Traditional Chinese Tune: Birds on  a Desolated Mountain
Featuring Betti Xiang, erhu
·        Traditional Chinese Tune: Birds Dash Back to Forest
Featuring Betti Xiang, gaohu
·        Traditional Chinese Tune: On the Grassland
Featuring Betti Xiang, zhonghu
·        Spring in the Forest by Ye Xiaogang
Featuring YuQi Deng, guzheng
·        Tree Without Wind by Huang Ruo (Chicago/Midwest Premiere)
Featuring Winston Choi, piano
·        Gobi Canticle by Lei Liang (Chicago/Midwest Premiere)
Featuring Qing Hou, violin; Weijin Wang, viola
·        Chinese Folk Songs by Zhou Long (Chicago Premiere)
String quartet led by Qing Hou

Inspired by late CFAS founder Barbara Tiao, who many considered a “force of nature,” The Five Elements Project is themed around the five elements found throughout Chinese art, science and philosophy: earth, fire, metal, water and wood.  The Five Elements Project is curated by Qing Hou, Chicago Symphony Orchestra violinist and CFAS artist-in-residence. 

More Five Elements Project Events
The Forces of Nature: The Five Elements Project continues with the third concert in the series, “Fire and Metal,” presented free at the Pritzker Pavilion of Millennium Park, Sunday, August 10 at 6:30 pm as part of the annual “Rhythms of China” festival.

The series finale concert takes place in Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, Friday, November 14 at 7:30 pm.  Tickets for this concert start at $20, $5 for students.

About the Chinese Fine Arts Society
Founded in 1984, the Chinese Fine Arts Society (CFAS) is dedicated to promoting Chinese culture, music, dance and visual arts in Chicago through performance and education, thus enhancing cultural exchange.  Its core programming consists of three areas: Professional Concerts, Young Artist Development and Community Engagement.  Julie Tiao Ma, daughter of founder Barbara Tiao, serves as President of the Board of Directors.

The history of CFAS has been a true “American Dream” success story, beginning when Barbara Tiao, a Shanghai native who fled the country in 1949, eventually settling in Chicago in 1984.  She established herself as a piano teacher and a “cultural ambassador,” sharing her beloved culture with other students and the surrounding community.  This passion was Tiao’s inspiration to start the Chinese Fine Arts Society.  Tiao passed away in 2008, having realized her dream: an organization that has bloomed into a professional entity in Chicago’s artistic scene.  Since its founding, CFAS has been the leading champion of Chinese arts in Chicago, from traditional to contemporary.  CFAS has established itself with widely attended and critically acclaimed cultural events in various venues throughout Chicagoland.

To learn more about the Chinese Fine Arts Society and its programs, visit

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


The Joffrey Ballet Presents Chicago Premiere of Exotic, Romantic Ballet set in India,

Auditorium Theatre, October 16 – 27

Less than a month after its special “Russian Masters” program, The Joffrey Ballet transports Chicago audiences to India with the Chicago Premiere of La Bayadère: The Temple Dancer, choreographed by Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton WelchLa Bayadère is presented over 10 performances with orchestral accompaniment by The Chicago Philharmonic conducted by Joffrey Music Director Scott Speck, at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway, October 16 – 27.

Set in story-book India, La Bayadère: The Temple Dancer premiered at the Houston Ballet in 2010 and revolves around Nikiya, a temple dancer in the royal courts, her secret lover Solor, and the jealousy and betrayal that rips them apart.  Based on Marius Petipa’s classic choreography – including the famous “Kingdom of the Shades” scene, which Welch has left intact – Welch revitalizes a 19th century classic full of the fantastic mysticism of the Orient, complete with dancing Hindu gods and live snakes. 

La Bayadère is a legendary ballet, with the third act ‘Kingdom of the Shades’ reigning as one of the most memorable dance sequences in the classical tradition,” said Ashley Wheater, Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director.  “136 years after its creation, I sought a fresh way of telling the story.  Stanton Welch’s production breathes new life into La Bayadère, while retaining the best of Marius Petipa’s original choreography.  Stanton has compressed and clarified the story, focusing on physical action rather than traditional pantomime.  The story is told through movement with athleticism that appeals to contemporary audiences.”

A ballet in three acts, La Bayadère features lavish costumes and sets by British designer Peter Farmer and is accompanied by Ludwig Minkus’ score as arranged by John Lanchbery. The costume designs evoke a story-book India through traditional attire such as harem pants and saris.  “Peter's scenic design is not a realistic depiction of India,” commented Welch.  “It's like looking through an old picture book from western culture with a view of romanticized India.  The production has a very painterly look, almost reminiscent of Monet, which gives it dreaminess and romance.”  The lavish production includes 121 costumes comprised of 568 items.  This also includes 26 handmade white tutus for the “Kingdom of the Shades” scene.

The ballet opens in the wild, lush jungle of India as the brave warrior Solor kills a menacing Bengal tiger, consequently saving the life of the temple dancer Nikiya.  The two are love-struck, but Nikiya has devoted her life to dancing only for the gods.  However, the High Priest of the temple, or Brahmin, is also in love with Nikiya.  As a reward for killing the man-eating tiger, Solor is promised the hand in marriage of Gamzatti, the Rajah’s daughter, a further obstacle to Solor and Nikiya’s blossoming secret love.  From there, the drama compounds and the twists unfurl as Nikiya and Solor struggle to fulfill their love while the forces of jealousy, vengeance and fate conspire to keep them apart.

La Bayadère’s third act, the famous “Kingdom of the Shades,” showcases the female ensemble dancers in white tutus, executing 38 synchronized arabesques as they slowly fill the stage, one of the purest forms of ballet-blanc, or white tutu ballet.  “The ‘Kingdom of the Shades’ is a challenging segment because it requires such control and precision from the women,” added Welch.  The “Kingdom of the Shades” is so popular it is often performed on its own.

Although the exact origin of the story of La Bayadère is unknown, it is an example of 19th century Romantic ballets set in an exotic location with a fascination with the Orient, spiritualism, triangular relationships, ethereal beings and dramatic plot lines.  Petipa’s La Bayadère premiered on the Bolshoi Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1877.  

Tickets & Performance Schedule
Single tickets range from $31 to $152 and are available now at The Joffrey Ballet’s official Box Office located in the lobby of Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph Street, as well as the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University Box Office, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by telephone at (800) 982-2787, or online  

La Bayadère: The Temple Dancer runs Wednesday, October 16 through Sunday, October 27.  The full performance schedule is as follows:  Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 7:30 pm; Friday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, Oct. 19 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm; Sunday, Oct. 20 at 2 pm; Thursday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 pm; Friday, October 25 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, Oct. 26 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm; and Sunday, October 27 at 2 pm.

About the Artists
Stanton Welch (Choreographer) was born in Melbourne, Australia and began his training in 1986, quickly winning a scholarship to San Francisco Ballet School.  In 1989, he was engaged as a dancer with The Australian Ballet, where he rose to the rank of leading soloist.  Welch’s choreographic career developed during his time with The Australian Ballet.  In 1990, he received his first choreographic commission from the company, marking the beginning of a series of commissioned works over the next fourteen years and developing his diverse choreographic style.  In 1995, Welch was named resident choreographer of The Australian Ballet.  In 2003, Welch assumed the leadership of Houston Ballet, America's fourth largest ballet company, as Artistic Director.  Since his arrival, Welch has transformed Houston Ballet by raising the level of classical technique, infusing the company with new energy, drive and vision; introducing works by distinguished choreographers to the repertoire; and attracting some of the world's best coaches to Houston to work with the dancers.  He has created works for such prestigious international companies as Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Australian Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Royal Danish Ballet.

Born in Luton, England, Peter Farmer's prolific career in set and costume design includes over 300 productions in dance and theater.  Farmer’s first work in ballet was the design of Jack Carter's Agrionia in 1964 for Ballet Rambert.  Since then he has created designs for many major ballet companies around the world, including Stuttgart Ballet, The Royal Ballet Touring Company, London Festival Ballet, The Australian Ballet, The Royal Ballet, Vienna State Opera, Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.  He made his debut with The National Ballet of Canada in 1973 when he designed Erik Bruhn and Celia Franca's production of Les Sylphides.  In 1990, Farmer returned to the National Ballet to design the company's production of Robert North's Troy Game.  In 1992, he designed the sets and costumes for Houston Ballet’s production of Manon.  In 1995, The Australian Ballet unveiled Farmer’s sets and costumes for their production of Madame Butterfly choreographed by Stanton Welch.  Farmer continues to design for dance, creating sets and costumes for many companies across North America.

The Joffrey Ballet is Chicago’s premier ballet company committed to artistic excellence and innovation, presenting a unique repertory encompassing masterpieces of the past and cutting-edge works of today.  Founded by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey in 1956, guided by celebrated choreographer Gerald Arpino from 1988 until 2007, The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under Artistic Director Ashley Wheater and Executive Director Greg Cameron.  The Joffrey is also committed to providing arts education and accessible dance training through its Joffrey Academy of Dance and Community Engagement programs. 

The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its 2013-2014 Season Sponsors and Partners.  With special thanks to La Bayadère Presenting Sponsors, Margot and Josef Lakonishok; La Bayadère Production Sponsor, Jane Ellen Murray Foundation; Abbott Fund and NIB Foundation, Co-Sponsors of the 2013-2014 Season; United Airlines, Official & Exclusive Airline; Vanguard Weiss Memorial Hospital, Chicago Center for Orthopedics, Official Healthcare Provider; AthletiCo, Official Provider of Physical Therapy; JW Marriott, Official Hotel; and MAC, Official Cosmetic Sponsor.

Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker returns for its seasonal run at the Auditorium Theatre, bringing Tchaikovsky’s classic score to life with dancing snowflakes, battling toys, waltzing flowers and the splendor of the full Joffrey company on stage with over 100 young dancers from the Chicagoland area.  Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker is presented in 23 performances, December 6 – 28, 2013.

For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, please visit

ONE NIGHT ONLY: NATYA DANCE THEATRE presents World Premiere of THE SEVENTH LOVE, An evening-length dance-theater work created in collaboration with Lookingglass Theatre’s David Kersnar

Natya Dance Theatre, Chicago’s longest running contemporary Indian dance company, announces a World Premiere: The Seventh Love, an evening-length work of dance-theater created collaboratively by Hema and Krithika Rajagopalan and Lookingglass Theater’s David Kersnar, at the Harris Theater, Saturday, November 2.

Here at ChiIL Live Shows/ChiIL Mama, we've long been admirers of David Kersnar's works.   Check out our original video interview with him, during his collaboration on Goodnight Moon for Chicago Children's Theatre.

Now check out his latest collaboration in person:
World Premiere of THE SEVENTH LOVE
Harris Theater
One Night Only: November 2

Real life stories from Chicago women about love and relationships play a key role in the sound score of The Seventh Love, a work that explores the various aspects of love through dialogue, original music and powerful Bharata Natyam dance.

True Stories from Chicago Women about Love and Relationships Play Key Role in Narrative

 Natya Dance Theatre, Chicago’s critically-acclaimed and longest running dance company rooted in the Indian dance-theater technique of Bharata Natyam, returns to the Harris Theater with the World Premiere of The Seventh Love, an exploration of love in eastern teachings based on the life of the god Krishna.  The Seventh Love is conceived by Natya Associate Artistic Director Krithika Rajagopalan in collaboration with David Kersnar, a founding member of Chicago’s Tony Award®-winning Lookingglass Theatre, and is written and directed by Kersnar and choreographed by Natya Founder and Artistic Director Hema Rajagopalan.   Natya presents The Seventh Love in one performance only at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph Street, Saturday, November 2 at 7:30 pm.

Following last year’s highly successful Sita Ram, an original world musical at the Harris Theater created by Kersnar, Krithika Rajagopalan, Josephine Lee of the Chicago Children’s Choir and composer Jai Uttal, Kersnar and Rajagopalan team up once again for The Seventh Love, a humorous dance drama revolving around the life of Krishna and understanding the various aspects of love.  Based on the ancient Buddhist discourse known as “The Five Aspects of Love” – which include attention, affection, acceptance, allowance and appreciation – Kersnar and Rajagopalan’s narrative story, brought to life through expressive dance and dialogue between a sage and a king, examines the various stories of Krishna’s life, from childhood through his adult relationships.  Through the lens of Krishna, the sage and the king seek to understand what true love really means and how a person can attain the sixth love, or “perfect love” encompassing all five aspects, before moving on to the seventh love, which is universal, selfless love. 

Bringing a real life element to Kersnar and Rajagopalan’s story, the sound design includes true stories from Chicago women about their real-life relationships, ranging from anecdotes about arranged marriages and surviving domestic abuse to lessons learned from both successful and failed marriages. 

Accompanied by original music from Rajkumar Bharathi, who also composed for Natya’s premiere of The Flowering Tree at the Harris Theater in 2011, and brilliant costumes designed by Ruknini Rajans and Krithika Rajagopalan, Hema Rajagopalan’s Bharata Natyam choreography – full of percussive footwork, symbolic hand gestures, fascinating geometry in movement and engaging facial expressions – uses 15 dancers to bring the story of The Seventh Love to life in a fresh, contemporary way that sheds new light on the ancient mysteries of love, life and human relationships.  

Tickets for The Seventh Love range from $24 to $75 and are available by calling the Harris Theater Box Office at 312-334-7777 or online  

About the Artists
Natya Dance Theatre was founded in 1975 by renowned dancer, choreographer and dance educator Hema Rajagopalan to serve as an agent of cultural preservation, presentation and exchange.  Natya seeks to sustain and develop the traditional art forms of India through the teaching and performance of Bharata Natyam for audiences of all backgrounds.  Bharata Natyam is a classical dance form of southern India that combines dynamic body movement with rhythmic footwork and stylized hand gestures and facial expressions.  Natya promotes the values of Indian culture, preserves an ancient art form, and forges links among Indian, American and other cultures.

Hema Rajagopalan (Artistic Director, Choreographer) is a Bharata Natyam dancer, teacher and choreographer of international repute.  She is the founder and Artistic Director of Natya Dance Theatre, a professional touring company and school that has specialized in Bharata Natyam for the past 38 years.  Her innovative work preserves Bharata Natyam in its full integrity, developing the art form in new directions and bringing it to diverse audiences all over the world.  Her gurus are some of the foremost figures in Bharata Natyam: Padma Shri K. N. Dandayudapani Pillai and Padma Bhushan Kalanidhi Narayanan theAbhinaya exponent.  She has performed as a soloist at prestigious venues throughout the world.  As a choreographer, she has created numerous short works and over thirty evening-length productions.  Noteworthy among her many prestigious awards are an Emmy® Award for the public TV production, World Stage Chicago, seven National Endowment for the Arts choreography awards in the U.S. (the highest number ever) and the Vishwa Kala Bharati award for artistic excellence in India.   She conducts workshops and master classes at colleges and universities throughout the country, and is an adjunct faculty member at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago.

Krithika Rajagopalan (Associate Artistic Director, Story Creator) has trained under Bharata Natyam masters, learning from world-renowned practitioners Hema Rajagopalan and Padma Bhushan Kalanidhi Narayanan.  Krithika also has trained in Kalari Payatu (Indian martial arts) and yoga.  She has given numerous solo performances and has had the honor of appearing for President Bill Clinton and at prestigious venues all over the world, including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC; the Ravinia Festival; the Auditorium Theatre; the Kentucky Centre for the Arts; the Music and Dance Festival of Madras, India; and the National Centre for Performing Arts, Bombay, India.  She has choreographed sixteen full-length works.  In 2006, she performed as a soloist at Chicago’s Millennium Park with acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, and also performed with the Silk Road Ensemble at New York’s Rubin Museum.  In 2006, Krithika was the first Indian ever nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award, an award that acknowledges outstanding achievement in Chicago theater.  Recognition of Krithika’s work includes the Chicago Dance Award, the Jerome Foundation Grant, the Master Teacher Award from the Illinois Arts Council, the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, the Woman Warrior Award from Columbia College Chicago, and the Commitment to the Arts Award from Mayor Daley and the City of Chicago.

David Kersnar (Story Creator, Writer and Director) is a founding ensemble member of the Tony Award-winning Lookingglass Theatre Company and has performed, designed and directed with the company since it was founded in 1988.  Kersnar has also appeared with the Goodman, Steppenwolf and Remains Theatre in Chicago, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Actor’s Gang in Los Angeles, and the Touchstone Theatre of Pennsylvania.   Kersnar served as the Lookingglass Artistic Director from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1997 to 2000.  Kersnar founded and currently serves as one of the Master Teachers of the Lookingglass Education & Community Programs, and served as its Director from 1992 to 1997.  He has over 25 years of experience teaching residencies, camps and classes, including courses for Roosevelt University, DePaul University, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, residencies for children with special needs in Chicago area schools, and workshops for the Lookingglass Studio.  Kersnar recently directed Iphigenia 2.0 for Next Theatre and Pulcinella and Peter and the Wolf for Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Marisol, Old Times, and Some Girls for Northwestern University.  Other directing and writing credits include Popcorn and Pasquale for Chicago Lyric Opera, Goodnight Moon for Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Last Act Of Lilka Kadison, La Luna Muda for Lookingglass Theatre, Flying Griffin Circus for the Actor’s Gymnasium and Brundibar for Lookingglass in collaboration with Lively Arts, Chicago Children’s Choir and the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra.  Kersnar also co-wrote and directed the Lookingglass namesake production,Through the Looking Glass and several productions for the Lookingglass World Circus.

Rajkumar Bharathi (Composer) graduated as an electronics and telecommunications engineer from the prestigious Guindy College of Engineering, Chennai, but turned to music as a full time career after a short stint as an engineer.  He has given classical Carnatic music concerts all over India and has traveled widely to the U.S., Canada, U.K., Gulf countries, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.  Bharathi has been involved in composing music for CD’s, thematic presentations, dance ballets and also for fusion projects.  He also has composed many Varnams, Thillanas and Padams especially for dance projects.  As the great grandson of the poet Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathi, he has tuned many of Bharathi’s lesser known compositions and presented them in the classical Carnatic forums.  Bharanthi was nominated for the prestigious Lester Horton Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Composing Music for Creation Myth, a dance ballet for the UCLA Centre for Performing Arts (University of California) in 1995. 

For more information on Natya Dance Theatre and its programs, please visit

Monday, July 8, 2013


Ticket Release: July 16, 17 & 18
Chicago Dancing Festival: August 20–24

Tickets for the 7th annual Chicago Dancing Festival, the “Free-to-All” Festival at venues across downtown Chicago, become available to the general public next week, beginning Tuesday, July 16 at noon.  During the Festival’s five-day run there are five completely free performance showcases, though tickets for indoor events must be reserved in advance.  Co-produced by internationally renowned choreographer and native Chicagoan Lar Lubovitch and highly esteemed Chicago dancer Jay Franke, the 2013 Chicago Dancing Festival features top ballet, modern, ethnic and rhythmic dance companies from Chicago and across the country, set to take place August 20 – 24.

Tickets will be released in a staggered format so that each venue releases its tickets on a different day, as follows: 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 12 Noon
Tickets for the “The Harris at 10! Anniversary Special” performance on Tuesday, August 20 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance will be 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.

Wednesday, July 17 at 12 Noon
Tickets for the “Dancing in Chicago” performance on Thursday, August 22 at the Auditorium Theatre will be available in person at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office, 50 E. Congress Parkway, online at or by calling (800) 982-ARTS.  Not available at Ticketmaster Outlets.  Limit two (2) tickets per order.

Thursday, July 18 at 12 Noon
Tickets for the “Solitaire – A Game of Dance” performances on Friday, August 23 at the Museum of Contemporary Art will be 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.

No tickets are needed for the outdoor “Celebration of Dance” Grand Finale performance at the Pritzker Pavilion, Saturday, August 24. 

Any 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 the performance, in person only.  All tickets will be held at Will-Call.  All seating for all venues is general admission. 

The full 2013 Chicago Dancing Festival schedule is below – program updates include the addition of Brooklyn Mack from the Washington Ballet and Tamako Miyazaki from Columbia Classical Ballet/Dortmund Ballet to the Tuesday and Saturday programs.


Tuesday, August 20, 7:30 pm – “The Harris at 10! Anniversary Special”
Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive
·        Brian Brooks of Brian Brooks Moving Company, I’m Going to Explode by Brian Brooks
·        Chicago Human Rhythm Project, In the beginning…^ by Lane Alexander and Bril Barrett (Premiere)
·        Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Little mortal jump by Alejandro Cerrudo
·        The Joffrey Ballet, Son of Chamber Symphony by Stanton Welch
·        Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Crisis Variations+ by Lar Lubovitch
·        Brooklyn Mack from the Washington Ballet and Tamako Miyazaki from Columbia Classical Ballet/Dortmund Ballet, pas de deux from Diana and Actaeon by Agrippina Vaganova.

Wednesday, August 21, 6:30 pm – “Solitaire – A Game of Dance” (Gala Performance & Benefit)
Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Avenue
·        The Chicago Dancing Festival celebrates seven years with its annual Gala, an evening celebrating solo artists from the world of classical, contemporary, Bharata Natyam and Flamenco dance.  This fundraising benefit includes a performance and benefit with an opportunity to mingle with many of this year’s participating artists.  Tickets are $250 per person and can be purchased by emailing  Space is limited.

Thursday, August 22, 7:30 pm – “Dancing in Chicago”
Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway
• Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater* in residence at Northeastern Illinois University, Bolero by Dame Libby Komaiko
·        Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, piece to be announced
·        The Joffrey Ballet, Episode 31^ by Alexander Ekman (Chicago Premiere)
·        Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Transparent Things+ by Lar Lubovitch

Friday, August 23, 6 pm and 8 pm – “Solitaire – A Game of Dance” (The Art of the Solo)
Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Avenue
·        Samuel Lee Roberts of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, In/Side by Robert Battle
·        Brian Brooks of Brian Brooks Moving Company, I’m Going to Explode by Brian Brooks
·        Camille A. Brown of Camille A. Brown & Dancers, The Real Cool (a solo excerpt from Mr. Tol E. Rance) by Camille A. Brown
·        Julia Hinojosa of Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater*+, Ensueños de mi Caribe by Julia Hinojosa
·        Johnny McMillan, David Schultz and Jonathan Fredrickson of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, PACOPEPEPLUTO by Alejandro Cerrudo
·        Victoria Jaiani of The Joffrey Ballet, The Dying Swan by Mikhail Fokine
·        Krithika Rajagopalan of Natya Dance Theatre*, Sthithihi by Krithika Rajagopalan

Saturday, August 24, 7:30 pm – “Celebration of Dance”
Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph Street
·        Samuel Lee Roberts of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, In/Side by Robert Battle
·        Chicago Human Rhythm Project, In the beginning…^ by Lane Alexander and Bril Barrett
·        Giordano Dance Chicago, Two Become Three by Alexander Ekman (2012 CDF Commission)
·        Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater*, Bolero by Dame Libby Komaiko
·        The Joffrey Ballet, Interplay by Jerome Robbins
·        Philadanco*, Wake Up by Rennie Harris
·        Brooklyn Mack from the Washington Ballet and Tamako Miyazaki from Columbia Classical Ballet, pas de deux from Diana and Actaeon by Agrippina Vaganova.

All programs are subject to change.

*CDF Debut
^CDF Commission
+Presented with live music

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 2013 supporters including: InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, Official Hotel Partner; Chicago Sun-Times, Print Media Sponsor; Museum of Contemporary Art; Harris Theater for Music and Dance; City of Chicago, Millennium Park; The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University; 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; and the Irving Harris Foundation.

Click here for more information on the Chicago Dancing Festival, its history and 2013 offerings. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

INCOMING: Cellist Ian Maksin, Flamenco & Las Guitarras de Espana at City Winery June 21 #multicultural

Shows on our radar:

Russian-born/Chicago-based cellist Ian Maksin will join Las Guitarras de Espana for an evening of flamenco, world music, Spanish folk and classical music at City Winery on Friday, June 21.   Click here for advanced tickets. 

After individual sold-out debuts at Chicago's hottest new live music venue, cellist Ian Maksin and Las Guitarras de Espana will be returning to City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., on Friday, June 21st with a brand new collaborative project. Showtime is 8PM; doors open at 6PM; tickets are $20. 

Las Guitarras de Espana will present a brand new program, a unique fusion of classical, flamenco and world music unified by Ian Maksin's cello playing. The performances will range from intimate solos by Maksin and small duo and trio numbers to the culminating set by a full 10-piece band, including flamenco dancer Wendy Clinard and Senegalese tama ("talking drum") player Mamadou Diop. In addition to original compositions and traditional folk songs from Spain and Cuba, Maksin and Las Guitarras will perform some of their own renditions of works by such classical composers as Granados, Albeniz and de Falla. 

In an addition to having an international career as a classical musician, Ian Maksin is one of the few contemporary cellists performing flamenco and world music. He performs over 100 concerts annually in the USA and Europe, and his performances have been broadcast on NPR and PBS. In 2012 the Chicago Symphony Orchestra named him "Citizen Musician" for his contribution to the city's musical life. Maksin has performed and recorded with such artists as Andrea Bocelli, Sting, and Gloria Estefan.

Las Guitarras de Espana (The Guitars of Spain) is a "world music" ensemble, with a "Spanish guitar twist," that performs a fusion of Cuban son, rumba, R&B, Latin-jazz, blues and African percussion with an underlying flamenco music and dance focus. From the start, the ensemble has presented traditional Spanish guitar music along with traditional flamenco forms in collaboration with music and musicians from other genres and cultures. The ensemble has sought to unite music, dance, travel, poetry, and culture in recordings and performances.

Additional artist information is available here:

Monday, November 19, 2012

CHI, IL Live Shows On Our Radar: 3 Multicultural Favs

Sones de México Ensemble, 13 B'ak'tun (all ages)

Tour Appearance
12/01/2012, Sat 
Chicago, IL 

1328 W. Morse Ave. 
Show: 7:00 pm & 10:00 pm 

Advance General Admission = $20 Day of Show General Admission = $25 VIP guaranteed seat = $35 

Under 18 = $15 Groups of 10 or more = $15 per person Boxoffice: (773) 381-4551 or $5 valet parking available. 

Ask about dinner packages.

It’s not the end of the world, but a turn of the wheel. December 21, 2012 marks the beginning of a new era according to the Mayan calendar, that mathematically elegant achievement that has been misread by doomsayers worldwide, and means the end of one of the cycles of the Mayan calendar, the b’ak’tun (approximately 394 solar years).

Henry Cole & the Afro-Beat Collective, Roots Before Branches (18+)

Tour Appearance
12/13/2012, Thu 
Chicago, IL 

1328 W. Morse Avenue 
Tix: $25-$15, Doors Open: 6:30 pm, Show: 8:00 pm 
Ph: 773.381.4554  

Quicksilver Puerto Rican drummer Henry Cole knows how Wayne Shorter might have jammed with Fela Kuti. Or what Miles would have done if only he’d gone Afro-Caribbean with his rock-jazz hybrids. He hears how jazz can grab the rootsy sounds of bomba, plena, and Cuban rumba, and sparkle with electro sheen and rock energy.

Kodo 2013:  One Earth Tour

The Delicate, Powerful Breath of the Past:  Living Legend Tamasaburo Bando Leads Kodo, Finds Inspiration on Japan’s Sado Island

Tour Appearance
02/13/2013, Wed 
Chicago, IL (all ages)

220 South Michigan Avenue 
Show: 7:30 PM 
Ph: 312.294.3000 Single Tickets on sale Friday August 10, 2012.

The visceral intensity, the athleticism, of taiko drumming in the hands of a master group like Japan’s Kodo may feel like the polar opposite of kabuki theater’s controlled, nuanced performances. Yet when Kodo announced it had found a new Artistic Director in kabuki icon Tamasaburo Bando—often referred to simply as “Tamasaburo”—it made perfect sense.

They both draw on the deep well of traditional Japanese culture, rooted in a long lineage and sense of place that bring unflagging precision and profound personal commitment to their work. It runs through the explosive power of a giant booming drum stroke and through the most delicate of hand motions, though the harvest celebrations and demon dances to the most refined and urbane stages.

Now their joint labors are coming to America in early 2013, with a tour that will feature several re-envisioned and new pieces guided by Tamasaburo’s distinct aesthetic and deep experience.

Tamasaburo, known for his stunning, subtle onnagata (female roles), grew up in a kabuki family, steeped in the art form’s complex movements, visual language, and painstaking stagecraft. A performer since his early teens, the actor rose to prominence, winning a worshipful following worthy of a Hollywood star. He wowed arthouse fans by performing in films by revered European directors such as Andrzej Wajda. He was recently declared a Living National Treasure, one of the highest honors bestowed on prominent Japanese citizens.

Yet the master performer decided to devote himself to an artistic venture located in one of the remotest places in Japan—Sado, an island the size of Okinawa off Japan’s northwest coast—to work with the world’s preeminent drumming ensembles, Kodo.

“I have been visiting Sado Island regularly for the past ten years to work with Kodo, directing the performances, as well as appearing on stage alongside the ensemble,” Tamasaburo reflected in a recent statement about his work with Kodo. “Through my involvement with these productions, I realized the importance of confining yourself to one specific place to train. Getting away from the city where you are surrounded by technology, you face yourself, come face to face with your purest form. In the natural surroundings of Sado, you can experience a rare opportunity to get back in touch with your own soul and can even sometimes feel the concealed breath of ancient times on your own skin.”

Tamasaburo and Kodo have felt this breath on Sado. The island saw an influx of new inhabitants when gold was discovered during the Edo period, as well as several centuries of artists and intellectuals in exile, extraordinary men banished by Japan’s rulers for political reasons. “Many cultures in turn came to Sado on thousands of ships from all over Japan. That made the island’s culture very complex and interesting,” notes Kodo member Jun Akimoto, who has worked with the group for over a decade.

Though intimately tied to the cultural developments on the rest of Japan, remote Sado has retained an astounding level of traditional culture, roots that express themselves in everyday moments. Across the island, for example, foodways long forgotten elsewhere on Japan still thrive, from tiny home noodle parlors to the freshest of sushi. Prized sake is brewed from hand-planted and –harvested rice—agricultural practices learned by every Kodo apprentice to deepen their understanding of traditional culture.

On this unique foundation, Sado Island became a haven for artists seeking a different, more communal approach to creativity and tradition in the mid-20th century. Growing from a dedicated community of seekers, Kodo has developed its own way of life, trained hundreds of apprentices, built a remarkable arts village. In Kodo Village, not only do musicians gain intense discipline, commitment, and an enviable skill set; they also work in the fields, perfect their practice of the traditional tea ceremony, or help build sustainable and sleek furniture in the village’s workshop.

This organic totality of artistic vision attracted Tamasaburo, who happily set aside urban life for the quiet, almost magical remoteness of Kodo Village. The seasoned artist has grasped his new role as an opportunity to challenge himself, Kodo’s performers, and his audiences more deeply. Tamasaburo envisions Sado’s isolation as a way to connect with some of the performing arts’ most vital currents.

“Human beings cannot exist without nature,” he reflects. “That is why we use the arts to communicate nature, and it is only when we become free from impeding thoughts that we can become one with it. Facing the taiko, having acquired sufficient technique and control, players can forget their body, awareness, desires, hopes, and egos the moment they reach that state of oneness, and everyone who is present will share that indescribable sense of transcendence.”

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