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Our guide to fall dance 2013

Ahmad Simmons, a choirboy turned choreographer. Plus: Three best bets for fall.

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Our three picks for dance

  • Herbert Migdoll

Russian Masters

The Rite of Spring, the Igor Stravinsky/Vaslav Nijinsky collaboration for Ballet Russe, was so shockingly, discordantly new when it premiered in Paris in 1913 that the audience rioted. After a handful of performances, Nijinsky's deliberately awkward choreography—for a fertility ritual that ends in death by dance—disappeared. In 1987, historian Millicent Hodson pieced a version of it together for Robert Joffrey, who also commissioned reproductions of the original sets and costumes (ancient Russian, perhaps with a whiff of Native America), and made it part of his company's repertoire. This special one-weekend, four-performance run celebrates the centennial of this seminal work of modern music and dance. It's part of "Russian Masters," a program that also includes George Balanchine's Allegro Brillante and two contemporary pieces choreographed for Joffrey dancers by Yuri Possokhov, Bells and Adagio. Deanna Isaacs

9/19-9/22, Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2 PM, Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress,, $31-$152.

  • Luke Isley

The Lottery

Ballet West may be located in the Wild West—Salt Lake City—but this 50-year-old company is no backwoods operation. Since 2007, under the direction of former Joffrey dancer Adam Sklute, it's performed more than 20 world premieres. In 2012, it became the first ballet company featured in a reality show, the CW's Breaking Pointe, thereby inciting controversy over whether it's sullying the image of classical dance or just keeping up with the times. Also in 2012, perhaps in a case of art imitating life, Ballet West debuted a dance for 14 based on a short story at least as controversial: Shirley Jackson's 1948 "The Lottery" inspired Val Caniparoli's work of the same name.

Though Jackson's scathing satire of American conformity initially garnered hate mail and canceled subscriptions, it's well regarded today. Caniparoli adds a postmodern twist to his piece, one of several being performed in Chicago: the Chosen One is decided by an actual onstage drawing. The Lottery is part of the Sunday program, which also includes two Balanchine pas de deux and a world premiere by Nicolo Fonte; Friday and Saturday feature Sklute's reimagining of Sleeping Beauty. Laura Molzahn

10/4-10/6, Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress,, $30-$90.

  • William Frederking

Chicago Dancemakers Forum: Break Out!

The Chicago Dancemakers Forum provides choreographers with one of the most essential ingredients in the creation of new dance: money, which this consortium has granted to innovative Chicago artists for the past ten years. In celebration of the anniversary, the CDF descends in a flurry of motion on the Museum of Contemporary Art. "Break Out!" showcases 30-some choreographers performing new and established work; they're all past recipients of CDF's Lab Artists grants, awarded annually to choreographers with proposals of significant scale and scope. Their work will be shown throughout the museum, from site-specific installations in the galleries to an evening performance on the concert stage, with filmed pieces here and there. This is fascinating, far-reaching dance by Chicago's best choreographers, who present material that's not only physically challenging—these are artists whose work is rich with intellectual depth, emotional texture, and exquisite technique. Standouts include Atalee Judy (BONEdanse), Adam Rose, Erica Mott, Rachel Damon, and Sheldon Smith. Marya Hornbacher

Sat 11/16, 10 AM-5 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago, 312-280-2660,, free with $12 museum admission.



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