It's not very often that you see local dance ensembles share a bill with visiting companies, which is why I'm so intrigued by the debut program of the Auditorium Theatre's "Made in Chicago" 312 Dance Series on November 16. I'm delighted to see the Auditorium offer its magnificent space to Chicago groups that probably wouldn't be able to afford a venue of that caliber on their own. Prime downtown theater real estate should be used to spotlight what the city has to offer.
Ate9 works out out of Los Angeles, but its piece, Calling Glenn, has a direct Chicago connection, thanks to live music composed and performed by Wilco's Glenn Kotche. The high energy of Danielle Agami's playful, intricate choreography is a great fit for Kotche's score, and I'm curious to see if the show brings out Wilco fans who may not check out a lot of dance. If they come, they'll be introduced to two local companies, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and Visceral Dance Chicago.
I saw dancers from Deeply Rooted perform Nicole Clarke-Springer's "Until Lambs Become Lions" at the kickoff event for Chicago Dance Month earlier this year, and the piece—a powerful depiction of solidarity and perseverance set to Nina Simone's "Isn't It a Pity—brought tears to my eyes. That performance at the Chicago Cultural Center featured minimal technical elements, so I'm eager to see what Deeply Rooted does with the expanded technical capabilities of the Auditorium Theatre.
The size of the Auditorium house forces dancers to push the expressive qualities of their movement, which should lead to some spectacular performances from the skilled ensembles of Deeply Rooted and Visceral. The latter already has a creative relationship with Agami, who is also Ate9's founder, and it will be interesting to see how her choreography for her own company compares to the work she did with Visceral last year. v