Thodos Dance Chicago Presents NEW DANCES, Featuring Choreography by Ensemble Members This Weekend
Thodos Dance Chicago is gearing up to let its ensemble call all of their own shots at the company's popular, highly-charged New Dances performance series, this weekend, July 18-20, 2014 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street, Chicago.
Be part of this amazing evening of new dance discovery when nine talented Thodos Dance ensemble members - John Cartwright, Annie Deutz, Tenley Dorrill, Kyle Hadenfeldt,Brandon Harneck, Jon Sloven, Alissa Tollefson, Diana Winfree and Lauren Zimmerer - are given the opportunity and freedom to step out of their role as performers and educators and concentrate on choreographing their own new works.
Performances are Friday and Saturday, July 18 and 19 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, July 20 at 5 pm. Tickets are $35; $28 for students and seniors; $20 industry (dancers and teachers); $10 for children 12 and under and for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are on sale now at thodosdancechicago.org or by calling 312.266.6255.
At Thodos Dance Chicago, ensemble members for the Company are carefully selected based on their high level of skill as performers, dance makers and educators. Through New Dances, TDC's artistically multi-dimensional company members are given complete freedom to create their own new work as choreographers and directors, and make all production decisions to support their new work.
Already, TDC's dancer/choreographers are casting their new works with dancers from within TDC as well as with professional dancers who audition from the larger Chicago community. Next TDC's choreographers schedule their own rehearsals, collaborate with Chicago lighting and costume designers and make decisions with their granted budget as their premiere work takes form.
In addition to a diverse slate of new works created from within, TDC reaches into the Chicago dance community each year and invites a guest choreographer to create a special new work for New Dances. TDC is thrilled to announce the 2014 guest choreographer isKristina Isabelle, artistic director of Kristina Isabelle Dance Company and director of HighJinks Productions.
Now in its 14th year, Thodos Dance Chicago's New Dances is one of the city's earliest, most respected in-house choreography series, and is unique and immensely admired in the national dance circuit. One of the most valuable benefits of New Dances for TDC's dancer/ choreographers is the opportunity to be mentored during the creation process by a panel of top Chicago dance professionals.
This year's panel includes Brock Clawson, a former TDC ensemble member who got his start as a choreographer via New Dances, and whose work has since been seen at the Joffrey Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet and Giordano Dance Chicago; Margi Cole, Founder and Artistic Director of The Dance COLEctive; Jeffrey Hancock, a founding member of River North Dance Chicago; and Zachary Whittenburg, a veteran dancer with companies including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, BJM Danse Montréal and Pacific Northwest Ballet, now manager of communications at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
This diverse and knowledgeable group will convene twice, once in May and again in June, to view a full day of private showings of each new dance. The panel will watch each piece and share their feedback to help guide the choreographers as they prepare to debut their works for the public in July.
"By giving our dancers the framework to create and present their own work, by nurturing and supporting them, and by giving them the rare opportunity to receive feedback from Chicago's most experienced dance professionals, our ensemble members gain critical, hands-on experience not just as performers, but as dance creators and dance producers," explains Melissa Thodos, Founder and Artistic Director, Thodos Dance Chicago. "For 14 years, our New Dances program has made so many of our dancers more well-rounded artists. This has served them invaluably and continually following their careers as performers."
Since the series' debut 13 years ago, New Dances has produced more than 100 Chicago-based choreographers and 200 dance artists develop and showcase their skills and build their reputations. Many works from past New Dances have entered the repertory of Thodos Dance, most recently Panem Nostrum Quoditianum by 2013 guest choreographer Ahmad Simmons.
New Dances creations have been showcased at festivals ranging from Jacob's Pillow to St. Louis' Spring To Dance. Other works have been embraced and received subsequent productions by noted directors like the late Gerald Arpino of the Joffrey Ballet and Jim Vincent formerly of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
New Dances choreographers have gone on to set works on the Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street, River North, Dutch National Ballet Project, Dance Kaleidoscope, Atlanta Ballet, Dance Works Chicago, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Idaho Dance Theatre, Grand Rapids Ballet, Giordano Dance Chicago, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble and the second companies of Alvin Ailey and American Ballet Theater.
Likewise, New Dances choreographers have won many awards and top honors, including two grand prizes in The Award Show presented by The Joyce Theater Foundation in association with The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and On the Boards (Seattle). New Dances veterans have also gone on to win the Ruth Page Award, the Cliff Dwellers Award for Choreography, and a Top Chicagoan in the Arts by the Chicago Tribune.
In 1992, Melissa Thodos, a young Evanston-born, Chicago-based dancer and choreographer, was frustrated with the lack of opportunities for local dancers to work in what in her mind was the obvious environment for any well-rounded dance professional: A place to perform. A place to create. And a place to educate. Fast-forward 22 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.
Thodos Dance Chicago features the American voice in contemporary dance and has created two critically acclaimed story ballets. In addition to performing works by Melissa Thodosand resident artists, TDC performs a diverse array of works created by other reputable choreographers: Bob Fosse, Ann Reinking, Lar Lubovitch, Shapiro & Smith, Jon Lehrer,Michael Anderson, Zachary Whittenburg, Lucas Crandall, Amy Ernst, Ron De Jesús,Gustavo Ramírez Sansano and KT Nelson.Thodos also collaborates across creative genres, most recently partnering with Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang Architects, in 2014 to createChanges of Phase, a new work investigating the intersection of dance and architecture.
Thodos Dance Chicago continues to expand its artistic and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Founder and Artistic Director Melissa Thodos, Rehearsal Director and Ballet Mistress Laura Gates, Resident Lighting Designer Nathan Tomlinson, Executive DirectorGail Ford, Grants and Booking Director Rick Johnston, Board President Elaine Rosenfeld Margulis, a dedicated board of directors and administrative staff, and the support of thousands of contemporary dance enthusiasts both in Chicago and nationwide.