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

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Hot Weekend Picks: Sideshow Villains New EP, Claws for Breakfast and Deviant Cabaret at Alhambra Palace Sunday, October 22, 2023

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Get Your Tricks And Treats On With Chicago's Own 

"Criminal Cabaret" Group Sideshow Villains

This Sunday, I'll be ChiILin' with the villains, reviewing for ChiIL Live Shows. Ready for some adult fun? Sideshow Villains will be performing their new EP, Claws for Breakfast, a compendium of tunes about revenge, addiction, and murder set to an eclectic mix of Americana musical styles, in the lush setting of the Alhambra Palace's main hall on Sunday, October 22 at 6PM CST. 

Interspersed between songs, the audience will witness the Villains' accomplices in the Deviant Cabaret, a mix of dance, circus, and cabaret acts designed to disturb and delight. Attendees are encouraged to arrive in their most exquisite Halloween finery and may be asked to assist Mark the Knife, the "World's Most Dangerous Comic."

The music featured on Claws for Breakfast evokes 70’s film soundtracks, Hollywood westerns, and vaudevillian burlesque acts with all tracks written or co-written by Sideshow Villains band leader Dante Ingram. 

 The Deviant Cabaret will feature Ingram on vocals and silks, MC and comedian Mark Faje, aerialist and juggler Benjy Radinsky, trapeze/aerial sling artist Camille Swift, aerial artist Chris Rooney, guitarist Chris Siebold, dancer Cristal Sabbagh, aerial rope artist Dalia Shafie, percussionist Dan Leoli, bassist Greg Nergaard, trumpet player Jaime Ruiz, aerialist Michael House, multi-instrumentalist Paul Mutzabaugh, and performance artist Spitfire. Sarah Kroth will be stage managing the event.

Ticket prices range from $25 for students to $65 for premium seats and Alhambra Palace is located at 1240 W Randolph St in Chicago's West Loop. 

For more information and tickets, click here:


Wednesday, March 8, 2023

FLASH GIVEAWAY: WIN Tickets To The Chicago Circus and Performing Arts Festival March 9-12, 2023, at Wicker Park’s Den Theatre

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar   

Chicago Circus and Performing Arts Festival


ENTER AT THE END OF THIS POST FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A Pair of Tickets to Any Adult Circus Act! and/or 

A Family 4 Pack of Tickets to Any Family Show 

March 9-12 at Wicker Park’s Den Theatre, Opening Gala March 9

Chicago-Based Ensembles Offer Circus, Burlesque, Dance & Comedy

Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival, the Windy City’s newest multidisciplinary fest, will run March 9-12, 2023, at Wicker Park’s Den Theatre at 1331 N. Milwaukee. Thirteen unique performances from Chicago-based companies include traditional circus acts, avant-garde sideshow and burlesque offerings, family-friendly juggling and clowning shows, queer-themed work, plus several evening-length pieces that also include dance. Several shows are double features: twice the fun for the same price!

Single tickets are $15-40 and are available online or at 773-697-3830. The lobby features cashless cocktails from the newly renovated Haven Lounge before and after performances. The Opening Gala is on March 9, from 6-10 PM and includes vendor tables from local businesses and Chicago circus schools, door prize giveaways, and a silent auction. Exclusive previews for media and donors will be performed throughout the night. Metered street parking is available, and the apps ParkChicago, Spot Hero, Park Whiz, and Parq Ex are recommended to secure a spot. The venue is also accessible to the Blue Line (north of Division, south of Damen stops) and via various bus routes. The Festival’s media sponsors are The Actors Gymnasium and CircusTalk.



Thursday, March 9

Heath Mainstage & Lobby: 

6:00-10:00 pm Opening Gala: Show previews for media and donors, silent auction, local vendors.


Friday, March 10

Bookspan Stage: 

6:00-7:30 pm Creature Double Feature by Such Creatures (circus + dance fusion, queer-themed)

7:45-9:15 pm BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest (classic circus cabaret, all BIPOC cast)

9:30-11:00pm the Back Side Show by Yes Ma’am Circus (side-show, burlesque, circus, ages 18+)


Saturday, March 11 

Bookspan Stage: 

12:45- 2:15 pm Distillations & Don't Try This At Home- Double Feature by Luther Bangert & Dinder Brothers’ Circus (juggling solo show, family circus troop, side-show, family friendly)

2:30- 4:00 pm Double Feature- Poised & The Reluctant Mind Reader by Raphael Entertainment (solo juggling + solo magic, family friendly)

4:15- 5:45 pm BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest (classic circus cabaret, all BIPOC cast)

6:00- 7:30 pm Autobiography of a Late Bloomer by Lucid Banter Project (dance, queer-themed, ages 13+)

7:45- 9:15 pm Circus Dungeon Crawl by Yes Ma’am Circus (circus cabaret, burlesque, nerd-themed, ages 18+)

9:30- 11:00 pm Queer Double Feature: And They Were Shipmates, A Queer Pirate Romance Adventure & Queer Dance Freakout by Counterfeit Combat & Gender Fucked Productions


Sunday, March 12 

Heath Mainstage: 

10:30 am- 12:00 pm Serious Cirque by Duo Refraction+ (circus, clown, family friendly)

12:15- 1:45 pm Circus Cabaret of Wonder by the Amazing Prizzini Brothers (classic circus cabaret, clowning, family friendly)


Bookspan Stage: 

12:15- 1:45 pm Double Feature- Poised & The Reluctant Mind Reader by Raphael Entertainment (solo juggling + solo magic, family friendly)

2:00- 3:30 pm Distillations & Don't Try This At Home- Double Feature by Luther Bangert & Dinder Brothers’ Circus (juggling solo show, family circus troop, side-show, family friendly)


The Amazing Prizzini Brothers’ Circus Cabinet of Wonder: The Amazing Prizzini Brothers’ classic circus cabaret features family-friendly circus acts and clowning. The goal is simple: to make the audience complicit in the mischief. 

Autobiography of a Late Bloomer: Lucid Banter Project presents Autobiography of a Late Bloomer, a collection of work created over a span of 15 years, following the choreographer's coming-out journey. Following Paula, Lucid Banter Project's director, through professional growth, family drama, religious realizations, sexual awakenings, relationship highs and lows, injury, and emotional abuse, the audience is brought along through the experiences, emotions, and growth of a late bloomer lesbian.

BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest Showcase: This circus cabaret features circus artists of Color as they share individual stories that depict human emotions and unique challenges faced by POC in contemporary America. Disciplines will include rope, straps, aerial hammock, diabolo, and silks. For ages 13+

The Back Side Show: Produced by Yes Ma'am Circus, the Back Side Show features burlesque, sideshow, and variety acts from around Chicago. For ages 18+

Circus Dungeon Crawl: Yes Ma’am Circus’ longest running cabaret! Come see the Chicago debut of Circus Dungeon Crawl, previously only shown to the elite crowd of gamers at GenCon in Indianapolis! Journey with Marcus the Bard as they attempt to drink, seduce, and thieve their way through the Multiverse, along with a cast of aerialists, clowns, and burlesque dancers.

Creature Double Feature: Creature Double Feature brings you not one, but TWO new works by Such Creatures Co-Directors Luke Greeff & Ashaand Simone. Missile Kid by Luke Greeff shows a punk-rock apocalyptic horror movement suite on unmasking the Autistic soul within the confines of an Allistic world … or a dancey existential crisis to good tunes… you decide. intimate youniverse by Ashaand Simone transports the audience into an 8-bit arcade world where they’re in charge of helping the protagonist’s disparate parts work towards some amount of peace. In doing so, they will learn firsthand what it looks like to re-wire the brain away from the impacts of (Complex) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and towards acceptance of intimacy and connection.

Distillations & Don't Try This At Home- Double Feature: A family friendly double feature. A solo contemporary juggling show performed by Luther Bangert, Distillations takes the audience on a multimedia and multidimensional journey through the anatomy of a moment, investigating causality, and emerging into the ground state of the juggling universe. Dinder Brother's Circus is proud to present the "DONT TRY THIS AT HOME SHOW!!!" Seen across the midwest since 2015 this blend of circus, magic, and danger is sure to entertain anyone ages 4 and up!  With mystifying aerials, feats of death, and astounding illusions everyone will find something they enjoy.

Double Feature- Poised & The Reluctant Mind Reader: A funny and dazzling 1-man duo show! Welcome to an experience that aims to have you question the absolute limits of what is humanly possible. Brought to you by one of Chicago's top jugglers, Poised is a family friendly show full of laughs and amazing feats of balance and coordination. Then stay and watch as someone with the ability to read minds shows off his powers while talking about the pains and annoyances that come with always hearing what people are thinking. The Reluctant Mind Reader showcases how some gifts aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.

Serious Cirque: Serious Cirque is a not so serious deconstruction of contemporary circus performance. It transparently and unabashedly reveals the hilarity, failures, successes and discoveries that come out of circus creation. What happens when Siri tries to third wheel your adagio duet opener? What if the duo trapeze porter loses his flyer and must perform only with sock puppets?

Queer Double Feature- And They Were Shipmates, A Queer Pirate Romance Adventure & Queer Dance Freakout: First, Counterfeit Combat presents a gay pirate show full of fights and fun that you can’t miss! Join us onboard Calico Jack’s ship, The Ranger, as we follow the tale of the infamous female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. This occasionally true story based on historical facts will have you laughing, sighing, and gasping, oh aye! Then stick around for Queer Dance Freakout, an interactive, choose your own adventure spectacle produced by Gender Fucked Productions. This company of queer, trans, and nonbinary choreographers and storytellers will perform up to 30 dances that will have audiences booty shaking, grooving, and connecting with the queer community.

*Click HERE for your chance to WIN a FREE Family 4 Pack of Tickets to your choice of any family friendly show at the 2nd Annual Chicago Circus and Performing Arts Festival!

**Click HERE for your chance to WIN a FREE Pair of Tickets to your choice of any Adult Show at the 2nd Annual Chicago Circus and Performing Arts Festival!

Winners announced at noon Thursday, March 9th.

ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows are thrilled to partner up with the 2nd Annual Chicago Circus and Performing Arts Festival to give away A Family 4 Pack of Tickets to Any Family Show and/or A Pair of Tickets to Any Adult Circus Act!

Friday, November 25, 2022


ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar





Featuring the Best of Chicago’s Nightlife Entertainment; 

Highlighting the World of Burlesque, Boylesque, Magic, Sword Balancing, 

Circus, Dance and More

The Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque© is proud to announce its return this holiday season with the sixth edition of Chicago’s favorite alternative holiday show, a twist on the original story and a live event not to be missed, directed by Miguel Long and choreographed by Dylan Kerr, December 1 - 31 at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave.  The two-hour experience begins with a cocktail hour which includes craft vendors from local artists (Thursday nights), special pre-show performances (Friday and Saturday nights), and brunch fare (Sunday matinees), followed by Tchaicovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite in a saucy, alternative and adult retelling of the holiday classic. Each week features the best of Chicago’s nightlife entertainment in the roles of Tea, Coffee, Chocolate, Vodka and Mother Ginger, featuring sword swallowing, belly dancing, classic burlesque and more. 

I'll be out for the press opening Dec. 1st so check back soon for my full review. Holiday performance schedule includes Thursdays at 8 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m. with a special New Year’s Eve closing night performance Saturday, Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. This New Year’s Eve special event includes a party following the show with cheese and charcuterie snacks, two drink tickets for after the show, a midnight “pole dancer booty drop” countdown with balloons and prizes, a DJ and more. 

There are no performances Friday, Dec. 24 and Saturday, Dec. 25. Admission is available for those 18 years old and older (21+ to drink). Tickets are Industry/SRO, $20; house left general admission, $30/$40 at the door, house center general admission, $40/$50 at the door and VIP, $75/$100 at the door with New Year’s Eve tickets house left general admission, $60/$70 at the door, house center general admission $80/$90 at the door and VIP $150/$200 at the door. Tickets are now on sale at and and, based on availability,  at the door one hour before the performance.

Audiences are invited to follow Clara and her Buttcracker on a wild hallucinogenic trip from a boring-AF holiday party to the Land of Sweets where they battle rats, save the day and learn that body and sex positivity are to be celebrated. A combination of fairy tale and exotic trip down the rabbit hole with the best of Chicago’s nightlife entertainment. The Buttcracker highlights the world of burlesque, boylesque, magic, sword balancing, circus, dance and more.

The Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque© cast includes Elena Avila*/^ (Clara); Olivia Lindsay* (Buttcracker);  Claire Francescon* (Drosselmeyer); Autumn Christensen* (Sugar Bum Fairy);  Baby Bagos Hood*/^ (Boss/Rat King); Hannah Silverman* (ensemble); Mandyn Mueller+/^ (ensemble); Eilish Morse-O'Rourke* (ensemble);  Yasmyne Williams*/^  (ensemble); Savannah Sinclair*/^ (swing) and Sierra Buffum*/^ (ensemble understudy). Features soloists for the roles of Vodka, Tea, Chocolate, Coffee, and Mother Ginger rotate weekly. Every week includes a different kind of performance from the best of Chicago’s nightlife entertainment.

The Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque© production team includes Miguel Long+ (director); Dylan Kerr* (choreographer); Brighid Martensen*/^ (costume designer); Gabrielle Strong* (set designer); Samuel Stephen+ (lighting designer);

Rowan Doe^ (props designer); Jake Snell+ (stage manager) and Carlie Rummel* (backstage manager); Kayla Drescher* (magic consultant). Jaq Seifert^/(sub)version productions (producer) and Caylei Hallberg* (producing assistant).

Pronoun Key: + (he/him/his); * (she/her/hers); ^ (they, them, theirs). = (any with respect)

Information on tickets:

New Year’s Eve

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 9 p.m.

Ticket prices: HOUSE LEFT GA $60/75 at the door, HOUSE CENTER GA $80/$100 at the door, VIP $150/$200 at the door.

This special closing performance of the 2022 run includes a make-your-own cheese and charcuterie board, two drink tickets for after the show, a midnight “pole dancer booty drop” countdown with balloons and prizes, a DJ and other special guest performances. 

Regular Performances:


Ticket price: $75/$100 at the door

This upgraded ticket includes reserved seating at your own cafe table right on the theatre floor with early entrance to the theatre and a private VIP bar, meet and greet with cast members and official Buttcracker swag. 

General Admission

Ticket price: $40/$50 at the door

General Admission tickets include first come, first served seating in the center section of the theater.

House Left General Admission

Ticket price: $30/$40 at the door

General Admission tickets include first come, first served seating in the house left section of the theater.

Standing Room Only (SRO)

Ticket price:  $20

A limited number of standing room only tickets will be available at the door, based on availability.

ADA Accessible seating is available, email for more information or to make reservations.


The Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque© subverts the classic holiday ballet to promote diversity in body, gender expression, sexuality and race. The show utilizes the platform of parody to encourage audiences to imagine a more inclusive world, redefining the art of the tease through an alternative take on burlesque. This performance would not be possible without the generous support of individuals and companies who understand the value of having alternative adult entertainment during the holiday season, as well as supporting our mission of subverting audience’s expectations of what live entertainment looks and feels like. 

Saturday, October 1, 2022

The Auditorium Theatre Proudly Presents Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan Performing Chicago Premiere of 13 Tongues for Two Performances Only: October 14 & 15, 2022

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan

13 Tongues

Two performances only: October 14 & 15 at 7:30 p.m.


Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan performs 13 Tongues, choreographed by CHENG Tsung-lung, photo by LIU Chen-hsiang 

The Auditorium Theatre (50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive) proudly continues its  2022-23 season of global dance presentations with Asia’s leading contemporary dance theater,  Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, performing its bold and breath-taking evening length work, 13 Tongues for two nights only, Friday and Saturday, October 14 & 15 at 7:30 p.m. Making its Chicago premiere, 13 Tongues is a striking and immersive journey transforming childhood memories of the Taoist rites and bustling street life of Bangka into a fantasy world, as choreographed by Cloud Gate Artistic Director CHENG Tsung-lung.

“We are privileged to be able to host some of the greatest performing artists from around the world at the Auditorium Theatre,” says Auditorium Theatre CEO Rich Regan. “Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan has been gracing Chicago stages for over two decades, and its brilliant skill and imagery continue to wow Chicago audiences.”

As a child in the 1980s, Cloud Gate Artistic Director CHENG Tsung-lung would contribute to the family business by helping his father sell slippers on the streets of Bangka/Wanhua, the oldest district of Taipei. Bangka/Wanhua was known for its vibrantly diverse and bustling street scene that embraced religious and secular life, rich and poor, work and play, legal and illegal activities. The young CHENG was transfixed by his mother’s accounts of the legendary 1960s street artist and storyteller known as “Thirteen Tongues” who had adopted Bangka/Wanhua for his informal stage. It was said that “Thirteen Tongues'' could conjure up all the Bangka/Wanhua characters - high and low born, sacred and profane, men and women - in the most vivid, dramatic, and fluently imaginative narratives. Thirty years on CHENG’s fascination for “Thirteen Tongues” became his inspiration as he transformed his childhood memories into dance.

Beginning and ending with the sound of a single hand bell, the music accompanying 13 Tongues ranges from Taiwanese folk songs to Taoist chant to electronica. The stage is awash with projections of brilliant colors, shapes, and images as the dancers gather, interact, separate and re-gather in a thrilling representation of the clamor of street life. As the religious heritage of ancient Bangka/Wanhua fuses with the secular space it is today so time appears to dissolve. The spirit realm and the human realm also coalesce as the audience is taken on an immersive journey - via imagination and storytelling that recalls the art of “Thirteen Tongues” - through centuries of human endeavor, behavior, and belief.

Performance schedule and tickets

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan performs at the Auditorium Theatre Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $37 (inclusive of all fees) and are now  available at, or by calling 312.341.2300, or at the Box Office at 50 E Ida B Wells Drive in Chicago, IL. Click here for phone and in-person hours.  Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more people are available. The Auditorium Theatre offers $20 student rush tickets to full-time college students and $5 tickets to young people ages 13-19 with Urban Gateways' Teen Arts Pass program. The Auditorium also offers a Student Savings Club for both college and high school students. The Auditorium Theatre's ADMIT ONE program offers complimentary tickets to Chicago-area community groups.


The Auditorium Theatre is fully committed to the health and safety of our patrons and our staff. We continue to monitor health guidance and appropriately adjust our policies. For current health safety information, please visit


Special thanks

The Auditorium Theatre is grateful for the support of the 2022-23 Season Global and Chicago Dance Sponsor, The Florian Fund, and Presenting Sponsor, Alphawood Foundation.  The Auditorium Theatre 2022-23 Season is made possible in part with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. The Auditorium’s official hotel partner is the Palmer House Hilton.

About Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan

Cloud Gate is the name of the oldest known dance in China. In 1973, choreographer LIN Hwai-min adopted this classical name and founded the first contemporary dance company in the greater Chinese-speaking community: Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, also known worldwide as Cloud Gate. In 2020, CHENG Tsung-lung succeeded LIN as the company’s Artistic Director.  

Cloud Gate has set out to engage with local history, culture and subject matter and draws on classical, folk, and modern dance from both the western and Asian traditions. Its dancers trained in meditation, Qi Gong, an ancient breathing exercise, internal martial arts, modern dance, and ballet. Under the leadership of CHENG, their training has further expanded to include trainings from various styles of dance, such as street dance. Manifesting in choreographies, the company transforms ancient aesthetics into a thrilling and modern celebration of motion.  The company has toured worldwide with frequent engagements at the Next Wave Festival in New York, the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, the Moscow Chekhov International Theatre Festival in Russia, the Movimentos International Dance Festival and the Internationales Tanzfest NRW, then directed by Pina Bausch in Germany.


About The Auditorium Theatre

The Auditorium Theatre, located at 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive at Roosevelt University in Chicago, is an Illinois not-for-profit organization committed to presenting the finest in international, cultural, community, and educational programming to all of Chicago and beyond as The Theatre for the People. The organization also is committed to the continued restoration and preservation of this National Historic Landmark that originally opened in 1889.

This Auditorium Theatre’s 2022-23 performance season features a dynamic mix of acclaimed global dance companies (Kyiv City Ballet of Ukraine, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Step Afrika!, and the much anticipated annual engagement by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) while closer to home, beloved Chicago dance companies also take the stage (Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, also Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, South Chicago Dance Theatre, and an evening with Trinity Irish Dance Company, M.A.D.D. Rhythms, and special guest, New York-based Dorrance Dance. In addition, the critically acclaimed National Geographic Live speaker series, offering first-hand accounts and expert voices on cultural and environmental issues, returns with three offerings and a new lower ticket price. And rounding out the season will be two holiday music concert specials in December:  the popular Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah and Celtic Woman. 

For more information on the Auditorium Theatre and a complete listing of events at the Auditorium Theatre, please visit

Friday, March 4, 2022


ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar  



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

“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 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 Connect with the Joffrey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Monday, February 21, 2022

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


ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Harris Theater Presents


Akram Khan’s Creature

English National Ballet

February 24-26, 2022

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

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

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

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

Jeffrey Cirio in Creature by Akram Khan © Ambra Vernuccio

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

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

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

Tickets and more information here.

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

Thursday, 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  Registration opens June 11. 


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. 


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 for more information. 

Thursday, May 30, 2019


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

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 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


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).


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


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



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​.

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 (​​) 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​.

Google Analytics