BalletX, Rosy Simas Danse & More Set for Dance Center's 2014-15 Season

BalletX, Rosy Simas Danse & More Set for Dance Center's 2014-15 Season

The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago announces its 41st season of presenting diverse international, national and regional contemporary dance. Subscriptions and single tickets go on sale July 7 at The Dance Center, 312-369-8330 and online at

American artists on the season's roster include Philadelphia's BalletX, Native American choreographer and dancer Rosy Simas, Heidi Latsky and her mixed-ability dancers, David Roussève and his racially and ethnically diverse company REALITY and Urban Bush Women celebrating its 30th anniversary season. From further afield, Indian Kuchipudi dancer Shantala Shivalingappa performs at The Dance Center, and Beijing Dance Theater, presented by the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in association with The Dance Center, performs at the Harris Theater. Rounding out the season are Chicago companies Hedwig Dances, celebrating its 30th season and performing with Cuba's DanzAbierta, and Chicago Dance Crash.

Community programs
Many of the season's artists will participate in The Dance Center's DanceMakers series, which features leading contemporary dance artists offering insight into their choreographic process. Discussions with the artists will follow most Thursday performances, and some programs will feature pre-performance talks with artists and Dance Center personnel or guest lecturers. Most out-of-town artists will provide learning opportunities for Dance Center students and conduct community-based residency and educational activities, which might include master classes, lecture/demonstrations, in-school and community-based workshops, professional development workshops for educators and service providers and panel discussions.

September 18-20
BalletX, Philadelphia's premier contemporary ballet company, is co-directed by Christine Cox and Matthew Neenan. The 10-member company's repertoire includes more than 45 works by Neenan and guest choreographers. The company's Dance Center program will feature four ballets by Jodie Gates, Joshua Peugh and Neenan.

Hedwig Dances with DanzAbierta
Co-presented with Links Hall at The Dance Center
October 9-11

Celebrating its 30th season under the direction of Jan Bartoszek, the Chicago-based Hedwig Dances expands its multi-year collaboration with DanzAbierta, considered Cuba's preeminent contemporary dance company, under the artistic direction of Guido Gali. Two interlocking but separately choreographed pieces-Trade Winds by Bartoszek and Aires de Cambio (Air of Change) by DanzAbierta's resident choreographer Susana Pous-explore the relationship of cyclical time in two different cultures: north and south, temperate and tropical.

Rosy Simas Danse
October 16-18

Rosy Simas examines her matrilineal Seneca heritage in a mixed-media solo dance work, We Wait in the Darkness. Simas explores how ancestry, homeland, culture and history are stored in the body and expressed in movement. In collaboration with photographer/filmmaker Douglas Beasley and French composer Francois Richomme, Simas creates an environment of sound, photography, video imagery and movement. Using personal metaphor and story, she takes the audience on a journey through a contemplative and fierce Native American experience of displacement and homecoming. Simas' work crosses and blurs the lines between indigenous folk and contemporary dance and the implications therein.

Beijing Dance Theater
Presented by the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in association with The Dance Center at the Harris Theater
October 28-29

China's leading contemporary ballet company performs Wild Grass (2012), a large-scale full-evening work in three sections, based on the poetry of Lu Xun (1881-1936), by female choreographer Wang Yuanyuan, a collaborator on the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Music is by Kangding Ray, Biosphere, Wang Peng and Cu Cong, 1987 Academy Award winner for Best Original Music (with Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Byrne) for Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor. Founded in 2008, Beijing Dance Theater has performed in many of the world's most prestigious venues, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Kennedy Center and London's Sadler's Wells.

Heidi Latsky Dance
November 6-8

Heidi Latsky, a former dancer with Bill T. Jones, is acclaimed for her work with mixed ability dancers. Solo Countersolo features Latsky as the counterpoint to the ensemble, weaving through a landscape of vigorously moving bodies to British composer Chris Brierley's score, commissioned for the piece. Somewhere is set to wildly eclectic renditions of "Over the Rainbow," using this iconic song to frame a series of intimate movement portraits that highlight a diverse unconventional cast. Her company's residency coincides with the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) and National Dance Educators Organization (NDEO) joint conference in Chicago in November 2014.

David Roussève/REALITY
February 5-7

Stardust relates the travails of Junior, a gay disenfranchised African-American teenager. Described as "a coming of age story for the Twitter generation," the work allows the audience to meet Junior only through his confessional text messages projected on a screen amidst glorious and pain-wrenching dance from African-American choreographer David Roussève's 10-person company.

Chicago Dance Crash
February 19-21
FamilyDance Matinee: February 21

Chicago Dance Crash has emerged during the past decade as one of Chicago's leading mid-sized companies. The work merges a variety of forms including hip-hop, capoeira, modern and ballet. A mixed repertoire program for the company's Dance Center debut includes a new work by guest Chicago choreographer and former Hubbard Street Dance Chicago dancer Ben Wardell. Chicago Dance Crash also offers a FamilyDance Matinee, featuring a special one-hour family-oriented performance preceded by a free parent/child movement workshop with the artists.

Shantala Shivalingappa
March 5-7

Shantala Shivalingappa is an Indian Kuchipudi dancer who infuses her work with contemporary choreography and stagecraft. A "child of the east and west," she was born in Madras, India, and was raised in Paris. Her gurus are Vempati Chinna Satyam and her mother, Savitry Nair, under whom she trained in Bharatha Natyam. She has performed for prestigious artists such as Maurice Bejart, Peter Brook, Bartabas, Ushio Amagatsu (Sankai Juku), and Pina Bausch. Akasha (which means "space") is danced solo by Shantala with four accompanying musicians from India: a vocalist, flutist and two percussionists. Savitry Nair joins the company for The Dance Center residency. Deeply trained in classical Indian dance like her daughter, Savitry teaches, responds to and reflects upon Shantala's work.

Urban Bush Women
March 19-21

Under the direction of African-American choreographer Jawole Zollar, Urban Bush Women celebrates its 30th season with a program of mixed repertoire, anchored by Walking with 'Trane: Chapter 2, part of a series of works based on the music and legacy of John Coltrane and inspired by the making of and the music from Coltrane's 1965 album A Love Supreme.

Subscriptions and single tickets go on sale July 7 at The Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Avenue, 312-369-8330 and online at All programming is subject to change. The theatre is accessible to people with disabilities.

Photo by Darial Sneed