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Showing posts with label dance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dance. Show all posts

Friday, March 4, 2022

JOFFREY ACADEMY’S WINNING WORKS RETURNS TO MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART March 18-20, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar  

JOFFREY ACADEMY’S WINNING WORKS 

RETURNS TO MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, FEATURES FOUR WORLD PREMIERES

March 18-20, 2022 at the MCA’s Edlis Neeson Theater

The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, presents four world premieres in the culmination of Joffrey’s national call for ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American) artists to submit applications for the Joffrey Academy’s Winning Works Choreographic Competition. This year’s Competition winners—Audrey Baran, Joffrey Company Artist Edson Barbosa, Taylor Carrasco, and Derick McKoy, Jr.—each have choreographed an original work created on the Joffrey Academy Trainees and Studio Company. 

Winning Works returns to in- person performances for the first time since 2019 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Edlis Neeson Theater (220 E. Chicago Avenue) Friday, March 18 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 19 at 2:00 PM and 7:30 pm, Sunday, March 20 at 2:00 pm. Tickets for Winning Works are $30 and available for purchase at joffrey.org/winningworks.

“After the COVID-related cancellation in 2020 and a virtual presentation in 2021, it is especially meaningful that Winning Works will return in all its glory to the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2022,” said Ashley Wheater MBE, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet. “These young, emerging choreographers prove that there is no limit to the level of artistic expression one can possess.”

“It has been over a decade of exceptional work and brilliant artistry for Winning Works,” said Greg Cameron, President & CEO of The Joffrey Ballet. “I am in awe of the creativity presented during the past two difficult years has demonstrated an admirable tenacity among artists. May we celebrate this homecoming to the MCA as a new beginning.”

Joffrey’s Abbott Academy Director Raymond Rodriguez added: “There is nothing more gratifying than seeing the works of rising stars danced by our incredible Joffrey Academy Trainees and Studio Company. Much like our beautiful city of Chicago, the backgrounds of these choreographers and the works they’ll be premiering on stage are diverse, rich, and dynamic.”

About the Program

 Audrey Baran

Audrey Baran’s world premiere Porcelain is a contemporary piece that explores the stigmatization of Asian Americans as well as the objectification and fetishization of Asian American women.

Baran is a Filipino-American dance performer, maker, and educator based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She holds an MFA in Dance from Hollins University and a BA in Dance from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance. She is the founder/artistic director of

Baran Dance and apprentice company BD2 and on the faculty of Charlotte Ballet Academy. Baran has presented work through Sites in the City, FEMMEfest, the National Dance Educators Organization Conference, Bill Evans Somatic Dance Conference, the North Carolina Dance Festival, Tobacco Road Dance Productions, Triangle Dance Project, Ladyfest CLT, Charlotte Dance Festival and numerous self- produced productions. She was the 2019 UNCC Department of Dance Distinguished Alum, an inaugural recipient of the Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts and Science Council, a selected choreographer for Charlotte Ballet’s Innovative: Direct from the LAB 2021 and has received recognition for her work from the Movies by Movers Festival, Charlotte Emerging Dance Awards, and Carolina Arts & Theatre Awards. Baran is also a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher and thrives on sharing her love of movement and mindfulness throughout the Queen City and beyond.

Edson Barbosa, Recipient of the Zach Lazar Winning Works Fellowship

Edson Barbosa’s world premiere On the Same Boat is a neo-classical piece inspired by the observations he has made of the relationships surrounding him, danced by seven women and seven men.

Barbosa has been a company artist with The Joffrey Ballet since 2014. He was raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and began his training in ballet, jazz, and tap at age 10 at Grupo Cultural de Dança, Ilha, with Patricia Marques. He was voted Best Male Dancer at the Festival de Danca de Joinville in 2012 — the largest dance competition by number of dancers, as documented by Guinness World Records. He received a full scholarship to study at the Miami City Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Washington Ballet, The Harid Conservatory, and Princess Grace Academy. He was also a Top 12 finalist at the Youth America Grand Prix in New York in 2010 and 2012, Top 6 finalist at the Beijing International Ballet Invitational for Dance Schools in China, and performed at the Opening Ceremony as a guest artist at the Danzamerica in Argentina.

Barbosa was a prize winner at the prestigious Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland, where he was voted the best male dancer of the 40th edition in 2012, receiving a scholarship to be a trainee at the San Francisco Ballet School under the direction of Patrick Armand. While in the school he worked in contemporary workshops with Antoine Vereecken and Wayne McGregor. Throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to perform lead roles in ballets choreographed by renowned artists in the dance world, such as Gerald Arpino, Val Caniparoli, Alexander Ekman, Jiří Kylián, Parrish Maynard, John Neumeier, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Justin Peck, Myles Thatcher, Helgi Tomasson, Stanton Welch and Christopher Wheeldon.

Taylor Carrasco

Taylor Carrasco’s contemporary piece Not Now, But Now explores the feelings of anxiety people have become accustomed to during this unprecedented time, and how running from and running toward, can often be one in the same.

“When I was three, my sister was six and in ballet like every other little girl,” said Carrasco. “My parents would bring me to her classes and I would try to dance with them from the hallway. They assumed I’d like it, enrolled me in class and I never stopped.” Carrasco trained with the School of American Ballet and New Mexico Ballet Company and has taken summer intensives with Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Ballet Chicago. He joined Cincinnati Ballet Second Company – CB2 in the 2014-2015 Season and was promoted to Apprentice for the 2015-2016 Season. Carrasco was then promoted to Corps de Ballet for the 2017-2018 Season. He has had three of his ballets performed by the main company of Cincinnati Ballet, with two of them being created for the The Kaplan New Works Series in 2018 and 2019. Carrasco’s favorite dancing memories thus far are tied to dancing with his sister. He says that “sharing the stage with family is the best experience.”

Derick McKoy Jr.

Derick McKoy Jr.’s world premiere Road of Flames mixes ballet and contemporary movement to create a piece about pushing towards one’s north star, and the flame that builds when people pursue their passions in love, careers, and families.

McKoy (he/him) originally from Miami, Florida, is a graduate Glorya Kaufman BFA Scholar of the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program in Dance. McKoy started his official training under Luctricia Welters and after a year, joined her dance company, Jubilee Dance Theater, as an apprentice. He furthered his training at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Arts Umbrella, BalletX, Ballet Hispanico, Springboard Danse Montreal, under scholarships, as well as NW Dance Project’s LAUNCH.

McKoy has performed with Nimbus Dance, directed by Samuel Pott, Jeremy McQueen’s The Black Iris Project, and on seasons 1 and 2 of the hit tv-show POSE on FX.

His choreographic work has been described as “authentic,” “dramatic,” and “important.” His developing collection of works have been performed at the Ailey Citigroup Theater, Ailey Studio Theater, Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, Ades Performance Space, Youth American Grand Prix, the Nimbus Arts Festival, and the Jamaica Dance Festival.

He has performed works by Alvin Ailey, Matthew Rushing, Crystal Pite, Jiri Kylian, Nacho Duato, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Dawn Marie Bazemore, Sharon Eyal, Alejandro Cerrudo, Marco Goecke, Adam Barruch and others.

He was also a part of a dance feature of The Ailey School on the talk show Conan. He has also had the opportunity to perform in Ailey’s 2017 Spirit Gala at Lincoln Center at the David Koch Theater and for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Vessel at Hudson Yards. 

He started McKoy Dance Project as a way to add his own contributions to the dance. MDP aims to be a strong, but sensitive new voice in the contemporary dance world. The company was founded with five pillars in mind: to create jobs, to inspire and touch, to give purpose, to create leaders, and to heal.

To date, the Joffrey has raised more than $150,000 to support ALAANA choreographers and the presentation of their work for the 2022 Winning Works competition. That number continues to grow, emphasizing the Joffrey’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of dance. The Joffrey is proud of the fact that Winning Works provides complete financial assistance—housing, travel, and work stipend—to all winners. Additionally, the Joffrey does not require an application fee for those interested in applying for the Winning Works competition.

Former winners of the Winning Works competition include Jeffrey Cirio (2016), current Lead Principal Dancer with the English National Ballet, Chanel DaSilva (2020), featured choreographer on the Joffrey’s fall 2021 program Home: a Celebration, Amy Hall Garner (2011), internationally known choreographer based in New York City, Stephanie Martinez (2015), a featured choreographer on the Joffrey’s winter program The Times Are Racing, and Claudia Schreier (2018), Ballet Master to Juilliard President Damian Woetzel.

Ticket Information

Tickets for Winning Works at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s Edlis Neeson Theater are $30 and can be purchased at joffrey.org/winningworks. Performances take place on Friday, March 18 at 7:30 PM, Saturday, March 19 at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM, Sunday, March 20 at 2:00 PM.

About the Joffrey Studio Company

The Joffrey Studio Company consists of dancers who show exceptional promise and a desire to join the Joffrey or another organization’s main company. The individualized training and performance opportunities allow students to expand their technique and artistry while offering a unique insight into the life of a professional dancer, including performing on some of the most prestigious stages around the country. Academy alumni have gone on to dance with companies around the world, including The Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, English National Ballet, Dresden Semperoper, Atlanta Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Kansas City Ballet and more.

About the Joffrey Academy Trainees

The Joffrey Academy Trainee Program is a full-time, one-to-two-year program for students preparing for a professional dance career. Through meticulous training, Trainees focus on artistic excellence, rehearsing, and performing classical and contemporary works from The Joffrey Ballet’s extensive repertoire, as well as works by world-renowned choreographers.

The Joffrey Ballet gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Winning Works Sponsors Pritzker Foundation, Wilson Garling Foundation, William Blair with Joffrey Board Member Rita Spitz, and BMO Harris Bank. William Blair is the premier global boutique with expertise in investment banking, investment management, and private wealth management.

For more information on the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet and its programs please visit joffrey.org/academy. Connect with the Joffrey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Monday, February 21, 2022

INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE OF Akram Khan’s Creature
English National Ballet Via Harris Theater February 24-26, 2022


 

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Harris Theater Presents

THE INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE OF

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, June 24, 2021

FREE: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Streaming World Premiere of Greener Grass June 24-27, 2021

Greener Grass Streaming Free with RSVP

photo credit: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago


Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s (HSDC) Season 43: A Virtual Homecoming will conclude with the world premiere of Greener Grass, a full-company work choreographed and directed by former HSDC company dancer Jie-Hung Connie Shiau and featuring original music and composition by Jerome Begin and videography and editing by Kevin Michael Briggs. 

Shiau sites the seed of this work as witnessing the establishment of..."re-education camps," referred to by some as concentration camps, to forcibly contain Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other traditionally Muslim minority groups in China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Zone. From her perspective, the insufficient effort and failure by world leaders to recognize and condemn this violent act leads to the necessity of the piece. Her hope for this work is to raise awareness of this humanitarian crisis. 

“As a Taiwanese woman who grew up seeing her own country constantly dismissed and silenced on the international stage due to pressure from the Chinese government, I am inspired to speak out against the Chinese government’s current efforts to silence and erase the Uyghur and Kazakh Muslims' cultural identity,” says Shiau. “Of course, I will never be able to fully understand the pain of the Uyghurs and Kazakhs, but I'd like to use my voice as an artist to draw attention to these issues and encourage people to take action.”

Greener Grass will premiere on June 24, 2021 at 7:30pm and will have additional screenings on June 26 at 7:30pm and June 27 at 2pm. The performance will be live streamed on Vimeo and will include a post-show Q&A. Admission is free, find out more and register at hubbardstreetdance.com.  Registration opens June 11. 

ABOUT JIE-HUNG CONNIE SHIAU 

Jie-Hung Connie Shiau was born in Gainesville, Florida, U.S.A., and raised in Tainan, Taiwan. She moved to the United States to further her dance education and pursue a professional dance career at the age of 18. She received her BFA in dance from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance. Shiau has worked as a collaborator with an array of companies including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Kyle Abraham / Abraham.In.Motion, Gallim Dance, Helen Simoneau Danse, MeenMoves, Adam Barruch Dance, and The Kevin Wynn Collection. She has performed works by

Crystal Pite, Ohad Naharin, Lou Conte, Brian Brooks, Peter Chu, Robyn Mineko

Williams, Alejandro Cerrudo, Helen Simoneau, Sameena Mitta, Rena Butler, Alice

Klock, Osnel Delgado, and Adam Barruch. During her time with Kyle Abraham / Abraham.In.Motion, she assisted Abraham on the Untitled America creation process on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, she also restaged Abraham’s works on numerous schools such as SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance, Point Park University, Cornish College, Rutgers University, Princeton University, Queensborough Community College, and Booker T Washington Visual and Performing Arts High School.   

In addition, Shiau was a recipient of Chicago Dancemaker Forum Greenhouse Artist in 2019, New Choreographer Project in Taipei, Taiwan in 2019, Dance Magazine’s “25 To Watch” in 2018, Honorable Mention for Jadin Wong Award for Emerging Asian American Dancer in 2014, and Reverb Dance Festival Dancer Award in 2014. 

ABOUT HUBBARD STREET DANCE CHICAGO 

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s mission is to bring artists, art and audiences together to enrich, engage, educate and change lives through the experience of dance. HSDC is committed to keeping its dancers creating and finding innovative ways to share exceptional contemporary dance with the community. Now under the artistic direction  of Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago grew out of the Lou Conte Dance Studio in 1977, and Conte served as Artistic Director for 23 years. Hubbard Street offers extensive Education and Adaptive Dance Programs to ensure that residents in every neighborhood of Chicago have access to the benefits ofdance. Visit hubbardstreetdance.com for more information. 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

OPENING: WORLD PREMIERE OF SAVING THE WORLD VIA CHICAGO TAP THEATRE AT STAGE 773 JUNE 8 – JUNE 30, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

CHICAGO TAP THEATRE RETURNS TO STAGE 773 WITH THE WORLD PREMIERE OF
SAVING THE WORLD, 
JUNE 8 – JUNE 30 

 Photo Credit for all: Josh Hawkins

A Near-Future Apocalyptic Story Told through Tap Dance, Original Live Music and Narration by Slam Poetry Creator Marc Kelly Smith

Artistic Director Mark Yonally and Chicago Tap Theatre (CTT) are proud to present Saving The World, a science fiction tap dance story show set to all-original music composed and performed live by Diana Lawrence, directed by Raphael Schwartzman, written by Slam Poetry Creator Marc Kelly Smith and choreographed by Yonally, June 8 – June 30, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Opening night is Saturday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m. The performance schedule is Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.  Tickets are $40 for adults, $30 for seniors, students and dancers. Group discounts are also available. For tickets, go to ChicagoTapTheatre.com or call the Stage 773 box office at 773.327.5252. 

Saving The World is Chicago Tap Theater’s first all new story show in three years since 2016’s award-winning Time Steps and 2017’s box office smash Changes. From the creative team behind Time Steps, comes a show about pride, arrogance and demagogues. CTT Writer-in-Residence (and creator of the world-wide Slam Poetry genre) Marc Kelly Smith weaves a brand new tale of the near future.  As a corporation begins to aid those hit by every-increasing natural disasters, a collision between helping those who need it most and profiting mightily from them is looming. Throughout the performance tap dancers, with the aid of video projection, will be embodying the natural disasters, including tornadoes and tsunamis.

“Marc Smith has really laid it all out there for this one,” said Yonally, “I feel since we first started working together there were themes that recurred through his work, and this show is, in many ways, is the culmination of all of his work with Chicago Tap Theatre.” Yonally continued, “We are working with a new director for this production, and he, along with the script by Marc, are pushing us to try truly new and innovative things. Even if you’ve seen every story show, you will see a LOT of new ideas on stage.”

That new director, Raphael Schwartzman, is a noted movement theater director creating his first tap opera with Chicago Tap Theatre. Schwartzman brings a fresh new approach to narrative dance, along with a stronger focus on emotional resonance and depth of character. CTT is proud to work with composer/Music Director Diana Lawrence, who is creating an all-original score for Saving The World that features live performances by her and two other musicians. This score veers from rock opera to folk to 80s chip tune.

The cast includes: Jennifer Pfaff Yonally, Kirsten Uttich, Isaac Stauffer, Aimee Chase, Mark Yonally, Christopher Matthews, Anabel Watson, Bailey Caves, Heather Latakas, Sterling Harris, Case Prime and Molly Smith .The production staff includes Sarah Lackner, production and stage manager; Dustin Derry, projection design; Emma Cullimore, costume design; Jimmy Jagos, set and prop design



ABOUT MARC KELLY SMITH, writer

Marc Kelly Smith is the creator of the international Poetry Slam movement and has performed weekly at the Uptown Poetry Slam (now the Uptown Poetry Cabaret) since 1986. He has chalked up over 3,000 national and international engagements and is highly sought after as the authority on performance poetry. In the past seven years he has created six all-original shows with Chicago Tap Theatre as their Writer-in-Residence, including Eyes Without a Face, LoveTaps, TightWire, Mama’s Boy and the award winning TimeSteps (Top 10 Dance Events of the Year, Chicago Tribune and Best New Production of 2016, Dance Magazine Reader’s Poll).

ABOUT RAPHAEL SCHWARTZMAN, director:

Raphael Schwartzman is over the moon to direct Saving the World with Chicago Tap Theatre. A graduate of Butler University in Indiana, Schwartzman has worked in the Chicago theatre scene for the better part of the last decade.  He's also trained and made theatre in the UK, Russia, and Italy.  Chicago directing credits include The Curse on Mordrake House (Chicago Fringe Festival), Thinking Sacks of Meat (Piccolo Theatre), and Visiting Hours (MadKap Productions). 

ABOUT MARK YONALLY, choreographer

Mark Yonally is the founder and Artistic Director of Chicago Tap Theatre, one of the most critically well-regarded dance companies in Chicago. They perform an annual three-show season in Chicago and tour both throughout America and Europe. Their performances have been chosen as the Top Ten Dance events of the year by the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, SeeChicagoDance and Windy City Media. Their 2016 Time Travel Story Shoe, “TimeSteps” was selected as the Best New Production of 2016 by the Dance Magazine Reader’s Poll. Yonally has developed a national and international reputation as a performer, with solo performances in Chicago, Helsinki, Barcelona, New York, Amsterdam and Paris. He has been blessed to have Sam Weber, Sarah Petronio, Dianne Walker, Bill Evans and Billy Siegenfeld as mentors. He has also recorded with live musicians, including an appearance with the Polyphonic Spree on their song “Mental Cabaret” and on stage with them at Lollapalooza.

ABOUT DIANA LAWERNCE, music director 

As a music director and improviser, Diana  Lawernce has worked with organizations such as The Second City, the Goodman Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Lawernce created original music for Steppenwolf Theatre’s 2016 premiere of Mary Page Marlowe, and her musical, Mill Girls, was granted a 2018/19 Incubator workshop at the O’Neill Theatre Center. Lawerence is also a teaching artist with Storycatchers Theatre, where she creates musical theater with incarcerated youth. L

ABOUT CHICAGO TAP THEATRE

Founded in 2002, Chicago Tap Theatre is a growing and vibrant dance company dedicated to preserving the quintessentially American dance form of tap while taking it to the next level of creativity, innovation and quality. CTT performs exclusively with live music provided by some of Chicago’s finest musicians playing everything from Duke Ellington to David Bowie and many artists in between. Under the dynamic direction of master teacher and performer Mark Yonally, CTT has gained a loyal and sizable following in Chicago and continues to tour both nationally and internationally. Having pioneered the “tap opera” format, which tells stories with compelling characters and intriguing plots, CTT has used the language of tap dance, live music and narration to move Chicago audiences for over 10 years.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

HELP OUT: CALLING ALL PLUCKY LUSHES! LUCKY PLUSH BENEFIT PARTY AND ROOMING HOUSE​, DANCE THEATER WORK PERFORMANCE IS MAY 23, 2019 AT VENUE WEST CHICAGO

LUCKY PLUSH PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS ​
ROOMING HOUSE​, 
DANCE THEATER WORK PERFORMANCE, ON MAY 23 ALONGSIDE BENEFIT PARTY AT VENUE WEST CHICAGO


Lucky Plush Productions present​ Rooming House​ alongside P​lucky Lush​ benefit bash at Venue West Chicago. ​Rooming House ​is to be presented one night only on May 23rd at 7:00pm. 

Rooming House​ is co-created by founder and artistic director Julia Rhoads and collaborating director Leslie Buxbaum Danzig (formerly of 500 Clown). ​Rooming House​ premiered in 2017 at the Steppenwolf 1700 Theatre to 12 sold out shows. Lucky Plush returns from a spring tour across the East Coast–including shows at the ​Kennedy Center ​in Washington D.C.–for this final presentation of Rooming House on our home turf. We could not be more thrilled to hold this year's Plucky Lush bash at​ Venue West​, a chic industrial space in Chicago's West Town neighborhood, with heavy apps provided by J&L Catering, beer provided by Revolution Brewing and Lagunitas, wine and alcohol. Drinks at the Plucky Lush fundraising bash will be bottomless and there will be a variety of fun activities and games.

Rooming House​ begins with an intimate conversation among friends, slipping easily between Spanish and English, as they recall stories of people who’ve taken actions with potentially devastating costs. When the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is mentioned, varied interpretations propel the group into a physically and psychologically complex game of whodunit, taking them down a rabbit hole into the lives of everyday people who do extraordinary things—from life endangering rescues, to defecting from Cuba, to letting go of someone you love. Playful and personal, the work synthesizes contemporary dance and theater to create a dynamic blueprint for exploring the question: what makes a person do something that could have life-changing consequences?

In ​Rooming House​, the myth and game structure offer familiar anchors that allow the audience to form expectations, which then can be broken as performers follow their idiosyncratic preoccupations and wrestle with the conditions of the performance – often being a source of comedy and delight for the audience.
   
“Lucky Plush Productions deeply values creating a welcoming relationship between stage and audience, delivering relatable content without compromising complexity. Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre is an ideal venue to create this intimate relationship, and we are incredibly excited to being one of the first dance events on its intimate stage as part of Steppenwolf’s LookOut series,” said Lucky Plush Artistic Director and Rooming House​ co-creator Julia Rhoads.

“Lucky Plush also values laughter and finds that it functions as an important release, a non-precious way to tackle difficult issues and a generator of excellent energy between performers and audience,” added Rhoads’s frequent collaborator Leslie Buxbaum Danzig.

TIckets for just the performance of Rooming House are $15-$40. Student tickets are $15. Industry tickets are $25. Seniors 62+ are $30. Regular performances are $40. Tickets to attend both the ​Plucky Lush benefit bash and ​Rooming House a​ re $100. For ticket information, please visit https://www.luckyplush.com/venuewest/​.

Venue West Chicago, 221 N. Paulina St, Chicago, IL 60612, is a chic, modern, industrial space located in the heart of the west town neighborhood of Chicago. Venue West boasts over 12,000 square feet of entertainment space with a state-of-the-art on-site kitchen provided by J&L Catering. Beyond catering, J&L supports many parts of the Chicago community. From education, homeless support, recycling, food donations, theater groups and the LGBT community among others, J&L Catering is proud to take part in the experiences of local groups and organizations that help Chicago thrive as a city.

Rooming House​ features Lucky Plush ensemble members Kara Brody, Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Elizabeth Luse, Rodolfo Sánchez Sarracino, A. Raheim. White and Meghann Wilkinson. ​Original music is by Michael Caskey. Lighting design by Alexander Ridgers. Stage management by Rachel Damon.



About the Creators
Julia Rhoads​ is the founding artistic director of Lucky Plush Productions. She has created more than 25 original works with Lucky Plush, several of which have toured extensively throughout the U.S. Additional directing and choreography credits include projects with Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Lookingglass Theatre, Walkabout Theater, River North Dance Chicago, and Redmoon, among others. Rhoads is the recipient of an Alpert Award in Dance and fellowships/awards from Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Chicago Dancemakers Forum, Cliff Dwellers Foundation, Illinois Arts Council, and the Jacob K. Javits Foundation, and she received a Fractured Atlas Arts Entrepreneurship Award for spearheading Creative Partners, an innovative nonprofit financial model. 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 Director of Dance and Lecturer at University of Chicago’s Department of Theater and Performance Studies.

Leslie Buxbaum Danzig ​is a collaborating director with Julia Rhoads/Lucky Plush Productions where she co-created​ The Better Half​,​The Queue ​and Rooming House,​and is currently collaborating on​ Rink Life​.For over a decade, Leslie was co-founder and resident director of the Chicago-based physical theater company 500 Clown, whose shows performed in Chicago and throughout the US. Other directing credits include Third Coast Percussion’s ​Paddle to the Sea​ and ​Wild Sound​, composed by Wilco’s Glenn Kotche, with performances at MCA Chicago, Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), National Forum of Music (Wroclaw)

Lucky Plush presents ​Rooming House​ May 23, 2019 and De Doelen (Rotterdam), and a number of productions in Chicago at The Actors Gymnasium, House Theatre, Redmoon, Chicago Children’s Theater, About Face Theater, and in New York, at New Victory Theater and PS 122, among others. Prior to turning to directing, Leslie toured nationally and internationally as an actor with NYC’s Elevator Repair Service. Leslie is Assistant Professor of Practice in Theater and Performance Studies, University of Chicago. She is currently developing a circus-puppet-theater adaptation of the myth of Atalanta with the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival.



About Lucky Plush Productions
Now entering its 19th season, Lucky Plush Productions (​LuckyPlush.com​) is a Chicago-based dance theater company led by founder and artistic director Julia Rhoads. 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 2000, Lucky Plush has created 30+ original dance-theater works. In addition to regularly performing in the Chicago area, the company has presented work in 50+ US cities from Maine to Hawaii, and its international partners span from New Zealand to Cuba. Commissioning and development partners include the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Krannert Center at University of Illinois, The Yard (MA), Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (MD), Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT), Door Kinetic Arts Festival (WI), and Links Hall Chicago. Presenting partners include the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (MA), Joyce Theater (NYC), ODC (CA), TITAS (TX), Spoleto Festival/USA (SC), NC State LIVE (NC), Portland Ovations (ME), and Skirball Center (NYC), among others, and the company will have its debut performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts this season.
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 managing director Kim Goldman ​works in tandem with artistic director Julia Rhoads to carry out the company’s mission. ​The current ensemble includes ​Kara Brody, Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Elizabeth Luse, Jacina Ratcliffe, Rodolfo Sánchez Sarracino, A. Raheim White and Meghann Wilkinson​.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

FEST ALERT: Pivot Arts FESTIVAL June 1 – 10, 2018 Ten Days of Innovative Performances Featuring Chicago Premiere of Rude Mechs

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Pivot Arts Presents 6th annual
PIVOT ARTS FESTIVAL
June 1 – 10, 2018
Ten Days of Innovative Performances
Featuring Chicago Premiere of Rude Mechs


Pivot Arts is pleased to present the 6th annual PIVOT ARTS FESTIVAL, a celebration of contemporary performances and multi-disciplinary works presented throughout Chicago’s Uptown and Edgewater neighborhoods from June 1 – June 10, 2018. Tickets, ranging from free to $30, are currently available at www.pivotarts.org/festival. Three-show Festival passes are available for $40.


Pivots Arts Festival 2018 Montage – The 2018 Pivot Art Festival will include (top, l to r) Rude Mechs, The? Unicorn? Hour?, Shannon Stewart (bottom, l to r) BraveSoul Movement, Walkabout Theater and the Celebrate Community! Parade.

This year, the ten-day Festival features the Chicago premiere of Rude Mechs, a theater collective from Austin, TX, who have performed at major venues across the country – joined by top artistic innovators from Chicago and beyond. Performances include theater, dance, puppetry, multidisciplinary works, site-specific performances, performances for youth, discussions and showings of new works-in-progress from the Pivot Arts Incubator program, which has developed works such as Isaac Gomez’s La Ruta, to be performed at Steppenwolf Theatre next season. 




The Festival also features the 4th annual “Celebrate Community!” Parade on Saturday, June 2 at 3 pm, kicking off at the Senn Park (1501 W. Thorndale Ave.) and culminating in performances and interactive workshops at Senn Playlot (1501 W. Elmdale Ave.) 


Festival Preview Party
Join Pivot Arts for a sneak peek of this year’s Festival at the Festival Kick-Off Party on Thursday, May 17 at Francesca’s Bryn Mawr, 1039 W. Bryn Mawr in Chicago. Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door and include appetizers, drinks, entertainment, plus a silent auction. Tickets are available at www.pivotarts.org/festival. All proceeds support the festival.

The full 2018 PIVOT ARTS FESTIVAL Line-Up includes:


Nire Nah (pictured) Music artist Nire Nah will perform at the Festival Launch Party. Photo by Matthew Gregory Hollis.

Friday, June 1
Festival Launch: A Night That Pops! 
8 pm, FLATSstudio, 4612 N. Clifton St.
Tickets: $10 suggested donation. Ages 21+



The 2018 Festival kicks off with live music by Nire Nah, a visual art exhibition curated by FLATSstudio, and a series of eclectic pop-up performances including a hip-hop opera by Chicago Fringe Opera with BraveSoul Movement and Cassie Bowers’ one-on-one tarot readings in Arcana Obscura, along with other artists. Dance to a DJ following the performances. The celebration includes food and drinks.


Walkabout Theater (pictured) Walkabout Theater’s stilt walkers will perform Monuments following the Celebrate Community! Parade. Photo by Tria Smith.

Saturday June 2
Celebrate Community! Parade 
Featuring Walkabout Theater’s Monuments
3 pm, meet at Senn Park Baseball Diamond (Thorndale & Greenview Aves.)
3:30 pm, Parade to Senn Playlot (1501 W. Elmdale Ave.)
Tickets: FREE.

Pivot Arts 4th annual Celebrate Community! Parade culminates in a site-specific performance of Walkabout Theater’s Monuments, a stilt performance created with artistic buoys designed by Studio Gang architectural firm. The parade includes sculptural puppets, stilt-walkers and free theater and art workshops. This year’s participants include CircEsteem, Barrel of Monkeys, Dream Big Performing Arts Workshop, Merry Music Makers, Storytown Improv, Walkabout Theater, and more! 


Corey Smith Presents The New Prairie School
7 pm, Creative Co-Working/Colvin House, 5940 N. Sheridan Rd.
Tickets: $20/$15 with student ID ($30 for both The New Prairie School and You’re His Child).

Equal parts architectural tour, immersive theater and musical performance, The New Prairie School at the Colvin House brings audience members on a fantastical journey through an historic Sheridan Road Mansion. 


Emmy Bean Presents You’re His Child
Vanessa Valliere opens with The Life and Times of Terry
9 pm, Chicago Filmmakers, 5720 N. Ridge Ave.
Tickets: $20/$15 with student ID ($30 for both You’re His Child and The New Prairie School).

A heartfelt exploration of religion, family and song. Emmy Bean brings the history of her great-grandfather to life through archival recordings of his hymns, joining his voice and her own in live musical performance. Vanessa Valliere opens with The Life and Times of Terry, the tale of one woman’s search for love through clowning, puppetry, drawings, photos and audience participation. 

Sunday, June 3
Corey Smith Presents The New Prairie School
4 pm, Creative Co-Working/Colvin House, 5490 N. Sheridan Rd.
Tickets: $20/$15 with Student ID ($30 for both The New Prairie School and You’re His Child).
Enjoy a special $15 fixed price festival menu at The Growling Rabbit (5938 N. Broadway) in between performances. Reserve for the dinner by emailing marketing@pivotarts.org. 

Equal parts architectural tour, immersive theater and musical performance, The New Prairie School at the Colvin House brings audience members on a fantastical journey through an historic Sheridan Road Mansion.

Emmy Bean Presents You’re His Child
Vanessa Valliere opens with The Life and Times of Terry
7 pm, Chicago Filmmakers, 5720 N. Ridge Ave.
Tickets: $20/$15 with student ID ($30 for both You’re His Child and The New Prairie School).  
Enjoy a special $15 fixed price menu at The Growling Rabbit (5938 N. Broadway) in between performances.

A heartfelt exploration of religion, family and song. Emmy Bean brings the history of her great-grandfather to life through archival recordings of his hymns, joining his voice and her own in live musical performance. Vanessa Valliere opens with The Life and Times of Terry, the tale of one woman’s search for love through clowning, puppetry, drawings, photos and audience participation. 

 
Monday, June 4
Broad Night: Demystifying Women’s Health 
Hosted by Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health and Katy Collins
7:30 pm, Chicago Filmmakers, 5720 N. Ridge Ave.
Tickets: $15.

Broad Night kicks off with a showing from This Boat Called My Body, a play from the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health about the abortion experiences of youth across the state, and a preview of Katy Collins’ web series The Doula Is In directed by Sarah Fornace and Julia Miller of Manual Cinema. Collins, doula to the internet, will field questions about women’s health. Post-performance discussion includes artists and Melissa Widen, Chair of the Board of Directors at Personal PAC.

Wednesday, June 6
A Discussion with Rude Mechs
6 pm, Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St.
Tickets: FREE.

Meet Rude Mechs, who arrive from Austin, TX for their Chicago premiere as part of the Pivot Arts Festival. Tanya Palmer, Goodman Theatre’s Director of New Play Development, moderates a discussion co-hosted by Pivot Arts and the Goodman about this nationally-celebrated theater company. Rude Mechs have performed at major venues across the country including Yale Repertory Theatre, Actors Theater of Louisville, Walker Arts Center, Wexner Center and more. 


Thursday, June 7
What’s Next: Anna Martine Whitehead / Shannon Stewart and Aurora Nealand
7 pm, The Mundelein Center at Loyola University, 1020 W. Sheridan Rd.
Tickets: $15 suggested donation.

A sneak peek at in-progress performances from Pivot Arts’ Incubator program at Loyola University. Anna Martine Whitehead premieres Notes On Territory, a multi-disciplinary movement piece on the history of containment architecture from prisons to gothic cathedrals. New Orleans-based dance and music artists Shannon Stewart and Aurora Nealand present their movement opera Hysteria and the Body Electric. Evening includes discussion with artists led by Tara Aisha Willis, Associate Curator of Performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Friday June 8
Rude Mechs Present Not Every Mountain
7:30 pm, The Mundelein Center at Loyola University, 1020 W. Sheridan Rd.
Tickets: $30/$20 with student ID ($35 for both Not Every Mountain and The? Unicorn? Hour?)

The Chicago premiere of nationally-renowned theatre collective Rude Mechs’ debuting their new work Not Every Mountain, reflecting on change, permanence and our place in the natural world. Using pulleys, cranks, magnets and string, Rude Mechs simulate the life cycle of mountains on stage – an invocation of tectonic force and geological time.


The? Unicorn? Hour? (pictured) Leah Urzendowksi will present The? Unicorn? Hour? with Anthony Courser. Photo by Joe Mazza.

Leah Urzendowksi & Anthony Courser Present The? Unicorn? Hour?
9 pm, Bar 63, 6341 N. Broadway St.
Tickets: $15 ($35 for both The? Unicorn? Hour? And Not Every Mountain).



Inspired by childhood favorites Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Pee-wee’s Playhouse, The? Unicorn? Hour? is a creative experiment in unrestrained playfulness and joy. Get ready to say “yes” to an unbridled uplifting of the spirit!


Saturday, June 9
Arts and Activism
6:30 pm, Loyola University’s Institute for Environmental Sustainability, 6349 N. Kenmore Ave.
Tickets: FREE

Join Rude Mechs’ playwright, Kirk Lynn, along with Natural Resources Defense Council and Chicago Community Climate Partners in a discussion about art, climate change and environmental activism moderated by Rachel Bronson, President and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Then head to Rude Mechs’ Not Every Mountain for the 7:30pm show. Discussion takes place in Loyola’s new LEED certified, sustainable building. 




Rude Mechs (pictured) Rude Mechs will make their Chicago premiere with the new work Not Every Mountain. Photo by Bret Brookshire.


Rude Mechs Present Not Every Mountain
7:30 pm, The Mundelein Center at Loyola University, 1020 W. Sheridan Rd.
Tickets: $30/$20 with student ID ($35 for both Not Every Mountain and The? Unicorn? Hour?)

The Chicago premiere of nationally-renowned theatre collective Rude Mechs’ debuting their new work Not Every Mountain, reflecting on change, permanence and our place in the natural world. Using pulleys, cranks, magnets and string, Rude Mechs simulate the life cycle of mountains on stage – an invocation of tectonic force and geological time.

Leah Urzendowksi & Anthony Courser Present The? Unicorn? Hour?
9 pm, Bar 63, 6341 N. Broadway St.
Tickets: $15 ($35 for both The? Unicorn? Hour? and Not Every Mountain).

Inspired by childhood favorites Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Pee-wee’s Playhouse, The? Unicorn? Hour? is a creative experiment in unrestrained playfulness and joy. Get ready to say “yes” to an unbridled uplifting of the spirit!

 
Sunday, June 10
Ice Cream and Improv with Storytown Improv
11 am, Lickity Split Custard and Sweets, 6056 N. Broadway St.
Tickets: $10 (custard not included).

The 6th annual tradition of ice cream (well, custard…) with Storytown Improv! An all ages show where kids design the setting and help shape the story.

Community Courtyard Kick-Off
2 pm – 7 pm, Old Bethany Church Courtyard, 5944 N. Magnolia Ave.
Tickets: FREE.

Come early and enjoy family fun throughout the afternoon. The old Bethany Lutheran Church will be having its grand re-opening. The partners at Parish House are excited to show you what's to come of this historic building. Come meet the new owners, take a history-meets-future tour of the 50,000 square foot space, and have fun with your neighbors and neighboring businesses. All ages welcome.

 
What’s Next: Ginger Krebs Performance Project / Chicago Fringe Opera & BraveSoul Movement
7:30 pm, Parish House, 5944 N. Magnolia Ave.
Tickets: $15 suggested donation.

A sneak peek at in-progress works from Pivots Arts Incubator program. Ginger Krebs Performance Project presents Escapes and Reversals, reveling in the exertion of striving bodies through dance. 



Bravesoul Movement (pictured) BraveSoul Movement will team up with Chicago Fringe Opera for The Rossini Project, transforming The Barber of Seville into a hip hop dance party.





About Pivot Arts

Pivot Arts produces and presents contemporary, multidisciplinary performance. They develop new work and present performances throughout the year culminating in a multi-arts festival. Their vision is that of a vibrant community where unique collaborations between artists, businesses and organizations lead to the support and creation of innovative performance events. For additional information, visit www.pivotarts.org.


Shannon Stewart (pictured) Dance and music artists Shannon Stewart and Aurora Nealand will present their movement opera Hysteria and the Body Electric. Photo by Diogo De Lima.


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:

LUCKY PLUSH BRINGS SIGNATURE DANCE, THEATER, HUMOR TO THE HARRIS WITH 
TAB SHOW, 
APRIL 26 AND 27


START TAB SHOW WITH RHOADS’ NEW WORK RINK LIFE,
CHASED BY GREATEST HITS REMIX CURB CANDY

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 HarrisTheaterChicago.org, 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 pluckylush18.eventbrite.com 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 (luckyplush.com) 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.

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