Dance Chicago '97
What do audiences want? I don't know, dance troupes don't know. Maybe audiences don't know. If you fall into that category, Dance Chicago '97 is for you. Now in its third year, the fest lasts for six weeks and features some 300 local performers, both dancers and less traditional movers. And it's affordable. This year, organizers seem to have aimed for even more variety in the festival's ten different programs, each of which includes a minimum of 6 artists or groups and sometimes as many as 11. (Sorry for all the numbers, but boggling the mind is part of what Dance Chicago '97 is all about.) Opening night alone features a wildly eclectic, top-notch set of ten works: a new piece by sexy hip-hop artist Elaine McLaurin and a solo improvisation in silence by the reigning prince of eccentric modern dance, Bob Eisen; the soulful drama of Deeply Rooted Productions and the easy sophistication of River North Dance Company's Grusin Suite; Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago's classic Americana and Steppin' Out's postmodern blend of tap, rap, and contemporary street styles; the light-footed, lighthearted step dancing of the Trinity Irish Dance Company; Joel Hall Dancers' sleek, balletic brand of modern; and a premiere by Randy Duncan called Spiritual Triptych. Closing the evening is a collaboration between Jellyeye Drum Theatre and Redmoon Theater--a celebratory excursion I'm told involves torches, puppets, drumming, and "creative movement" (isn't it always?). Opens Wednesday at 7:30 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport; $15. See listing for other imminent programs. Call 312-902-1500 for tickets, 773-935-6860 for tickets and information. --Laura Molzahn
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Marc Hauser.