SONO'S JOURNEY and More Slated for Thodos Dance Chicago's 2015-16 Season

Thodos Dance Chicago Founder and Artistic Director Melissa Thodos revealed today details about the company's 2015-16 season. Already announced is Sono's Journey, Thodos Dance Chicago's next world premiere, contemporary dance story, debuting January 9, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.

Tickets are $28-$68. To purchase, visit AuditoriumTheatre.org, call (312) 341-2300 or buy in-person at Auditorium Theatre's Box Office, 50 E Congress Pkwy. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are available at (312) 341-2300 or sales@auditoriumtheatre.org.

Created and choreographed by Melissa Thodos, Sono's Journey is a full company work that artistically reflects the life of acclaimed dancer Sono Osato's incredible journey from her roots as a young Japanese-American girl in Chicago, to her defining audition on the Auditorium Theatre stage that launched her international dance career at age 14, to her experience as a Japanese-American performer at a time of war and prejudice, to her position today as one of the most influential, barrier-braking artists ever in American dance.

Thodos Dance's return to the Auditorium after its triumphant, sold-out debut there last season is part of the Auditorium Theatre's "Made in Chicago" Dance Series. The second act will showcase TDC audience favorites Near Light (Melissa Thodos, choreographer), Memoirs (Garfield Lemonius, choreographer) and All You Need Is (by Thodos alum Taylor Mitchell, a stand-out work at the company's 2015 New Dances series, officially joining TDC's repertoire with its Chicago company premiere at the Auditorium.)

Chicago is the inspiration for Thodos's Chicago Revealed winter concerts, February 20 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, March 5 at Chicago's Harris Theater for Music and Dance Just a few weeks after its Auditorium engagement, Thodos Dance Chicago will present Chicago Revealed, an innovative evening of new and diverse works by established artists from the city's vibrant dance community, motivated by the rich, cultural landscape of the city of Chicago, and celebrating the American voice in contemporary dance.

Guest choreographers include Kevin Iega Jeff, Artistic Director of Chicago's Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. Titled Red Lines/Blue Horizon, Iega's new work is an abstract reflection of conversations about Chicago, with Chicagoans from diverse and contrasting communities, set to music by Steve Reich and the all-male a capella ensemble Cantus. Jeff's creative process included traveling with TDC's dancers to four Chicago neighborhoods to spend time with its residents. The dancers transcribed their impressions of their visits, and this honed research served as a critical narrative base for Iega to develop his work with TDC's dancers.

Also on tap to debut a new work with TDC is Robyn Mineko Williams, former dancer at River North Dance Chicago, a member of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago for twelve seasons, and one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch" in 2014. Williams' inspiration is music in Chicago. A third work under the Chicago Revealed umbrella is by company founder and artistic director Melissa Thodos titled Thio Kosmos, or "Two Worlds" in Greek. This work will shed light on the Greek American perspective of life in our city and will include text based on interviews with members of Chicago's Greek community. Some of its choreographic and musical elements will be drawn from an earlier Greek themed work by Thodos in 2007 titled Anasa and will contain facets that reflect the history of Greece and its cyclic rise and fall over and through time.

The Chicago Revealed program will also feature Sono's Journey, the work by Melissa Thodos inspired by the incredible life of dance icon Sono Osato.

Thodos Dance's Chicago Revealed concerts are Saturday, February 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd. in Skokie. Tickets are $28-$50. For tickets and information, call (847) 673-6300 or visit NorthShoreCenter.org. Chicago Revealed will also be presented Saturday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago. Tickets are $15-$65; 40% off for students and seniors. Purchase tickets at the Harris by calling (312) 334-7777 or visiting harristheater.org.

Immediately following the Harris concert, Thodos Dance will host a Chicago Revealed post show VIP gala. At 9:30 p.m., guests will be spirited to the Harris back stage Green Room to enjoy signature cocktails. Then everyone will ride a Chicago Revealed decorated elevator with Thodos dancers up to the glass enclosed stage of the Pritzker Pavilion. With night views of Millennium Park as a backdrop, Thodos' supporters will enjoy an open bar, hors d'oeuvres, dancing, dessert and coffee stations. Tickets are $275 or $500 and include pre-show cocktails, concert tickets, VIP seating and all of the fabulous post-concert festivities. Purchase tickets at thodosdancechicago.org or call (312) 266-6255.

Thodos Dance will also perform two Chicago-area performances of A Light in the Dark: The Story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan and other signature company works. The first is Saturday, February 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Moraine Valley Community College's Dorothy Menker Theater, 900 W. College Pkwy. in Palos Hills. Tickets are $20-$25. Visit thodosdancechicago.org or call (708) 974-4300 for tickets.

The second is at the McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage, 435 Fawell Blvd. in Glen Ellyn, on Saturday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40-$45. For tickets and information, visit thodosdancechicago.org or call (630) 942-4000. Thodos Dance Chicago's always-popular New Dances series, an annual showcase of the ensemble's dancers own, self-created works and a highlight of Chicago's summer dance season, returns Saturday and Sunday, July 16 and 17.

Currently, Thodos Dance is in the middle of its fall Southern States tour, performing A Light in the Dark and company repertory in Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi. The tour includes several educational residencies, and a key stop this past weekend in Baton Rouge, Louisiana October 29-November 1 to participate in and perform at the Women in Dance Leadership Conference, where Thodos Dance is one of only two featured dance companies. In November, Thodos Dance is touring in Kansas and Kentucky. In January the company will tour in Florida.

In 1992, Melissa Thodos, a young Evanston-born, Chicago-based dancer and choreographer, was frustrated with the lack of opportunities for dancers to work in what in her mind was the obvious environment for a well-rounded dance professional: A place to perform. A place to create. And a place to educate. Fast-forward 23 years, and Thodos is the only female choreographer and director to have helmed her own mid-sized, contemporary dance company in Chicago for more than two decades with this unique mission.

Today, Thodos Dance Chicago (TDC) is an ensemble of twelve versatile dance artists with a captivating style that uses a variety of dance forms. The company's unique mission of inspiring expression through dance education, dance creation and dance performance has established TDC as an innovative presence in American contemporary dance. In addition to performing works by Melissa Thodos and resident artists, TDC performs works created by other renowned choreographers: Bob Fosse, Ann Reinking, Sybil Shearer, Lar Lubovitch, Shapiro & Smith, Jon Lehrer, Garfield Lemonius, Zachary Whittenburg, Lucas Crandall, Brian Enos, Amy Ernst, Ron De Jesús, Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, Ahmad Simmons and KT Nelson. Thodos Dance Chicago continues to expand its artistic and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Founder and Artistic Director Melissa Thodos, Executive Director Gail Ford, Booking Director Rick Johnston, Artistic Associate Laura Gates, Resident Lighting Designer Nathan Tomlinson, Education and Outreach Associate Kate Weatherly, Board President Sharon Lear, a dedicated board of directors and the support of thousands of contemporary dance enthusiasts both in Chicago and nationwide. The company is supported by the The Sono and Victor Elmaleh Foundation, The Garden of the Phoenix Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council-a state agency, Target, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Arts Work Fund, The Morrison-Shearer Foundation, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Service Club of Chicago, Project 120, the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and many individual and corporate sponsors. Click here to screen video of Thodos Dance Chicago's current repertory. For more information, visit thodosdancechicago.org.

Pictured: Sono's Journey, about (top, from left, 1-3) Japanese-American dance artist Sono Osato, will premiere January 9 at the Auditorium Theatre. 4) Sono Osato earlier this year with Thodos Dance Chicago Artistic Director Melissa Thodos. New Chicago-inspired works by (bottom, from left) 1) Kevin Iega Jeff, 2) Robyn Mineko Williams and 3) Melissa Thodos will debut as part of TDC's Chicago Revealed winter concerts in February and March.

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