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Dance Center's 17-18 Season Features Cloud Gate's Return


The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago announces its 44th season of presenting diverse international, national and regional contemporary dance. All performances, except where noted, take place at the Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Subscriptions are available online June 5, and single tickets go on sale July 5 at the Dance Center, by phone at 312-369-8330 and online at

One of Asia's most important contemporary dance companies, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, returns with Artistic Director Lin Hwai-min's newest evening-length work at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. The season also features the Chicago debut of acclaimed choreographer Cynthia Oliver's COCo. Dance Theatre and the return of companies led by important American choreographers Reggie Wilson, Doug Varone and Bebe Miller. Chicago companies offering their individual brand of work include Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak and the choreographers participating in Elevate Chicago Dance.

Introducing families to the world of contemporary dance, the Dance Center's FamilyDance matinees provide the opportunity to participate in a free movement workshop, followed by a 45-minute family-oriented performance. This season's FamilyDance matinees feature Elevate Chicago Dance and Chicago company Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak. Admission is FREE for children 12 and younger and $15 for adults. No experience is necessary.

Audience and Community Engagement
Discussions with the artists follow most Thursday performances, and some programs feature pre-performance talks with artists and Dance Center personnel or guest lecturers. All out-of-town artists 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.

Chicago Human Rhythm Project
September 21-23, 2017
Chicago Human Rhythm Project premieres new works by internationally acclaimed Artist in Residence Dani Borak alongside an eclectic repertoire, including works by Broadway choreographer and Emmy Award winner TEd Levy, MacArthur (Genius) Fellowship winner Michelle Dorrance, international rhythm masters Guillem Alonso and Fernando Barba, legendary tap masters Buster Brown and Eddie Brown and NEA American Masterpieces award winner Lane Alexander. In works spanning seven decades of the American rhythmic evolution, CHRP showcases the breadth and depth of tap and contemporary percussive dance.

Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group
October 12-14, 2017
Choreographer Reggie Wilson's new work CITIZEN questions what it means to belong and what it means to not want to belong, inspired by the histories of iconic African Americans who faced prevalent contradictions and irony connected to individuality, anonymity, freedom and dignity in relation to their civic duties. A provocative dialogue emerges through a series of five intricately woven solos, layered with haunting footage that suspends time and placE. Wilson, whose postmodern work embodies elements of blues, folk and African Diaspora cultures, works down to the marrow in CITIZEN, exposing isolation and the ways in which we make space for our communities and our countries without sacrificing the authentic sense of self and the legacies of our diverse cultural identities.

Elevate Chicago Dance

October 20 and 21, 2017

FamilyDance Matinee: October 21

This extraordinary festival of Chicago dance gathers choreographers from across the contemporary spectrum. Two distinct programs showcase the breadth of today's new dance, featuring performances by ATOM-r/Mark Jeffery and Judd Morrissey, Ayodele Drum & Dance, Hedwig Dances, Ayako Kato/Art Union Humanscape, Lucky Plush Productions, The Seldoms and more. The Dance Center programs conclude several days of performances, studio showings and discussions across the city. Elevate Chicago Dance is produced by Chicago Dancemakers Forum, the leading area supporter of new dance development.

COCo. Dance Theatre
November 2-4, 2017
Virago-Man Dem is the newest evening-length, experimental dance-theatre work by Cynthia Oliver, whose company is making its Chicago debut. Virago-Man Dem is a nuanced study in masculinities and their multiplicities within cultures of Caribbean and African-American communities. The work captures various masculinities through movement, spoken language and visual design and explores the expressions particular to Caribbean and African-American black masculinities as they are performed and expressed by men, staged on male bodies, but designed and interpreted by a woman. Virago-Man Dem is based on the lives of the men performing it-Duane Cyrus, Jonathan Gonzalez and Niall Noel Jones-and asks, "How can a woman choreograph masculinity without resorting to stereotypes, but instead locate its nuances, challenges and ambiguities? Those very elements that black communities know so well and yet see rarely reflected in the culture at large?"

Doug Varone and Dancers
February 8-10, 2018
Celebrating its 30th anniversary year, Doug Varone and Dancers returns to the Dance Center stage for the first time since 2001. ReComposed is a visual dance creation inspired by the visceral imagery of American abstract expressionist Joan Mitchell and set to Michael Gordon's explosive score, Dystopia. The company also performs the duet folded, set to music by Julia Wolfe, which explores the fragile and precarious nature of intimacy. folded is an excerpt from in the shelter of the fold, a cycle of episodic, stand-alone vignettes that examine the many forms of faith and belief, as well as the acts of coping, realization, choice and the expectations attached to it.

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan-Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Dr.
March 2 and 3, 2018
Choreographer Lin-Hwai min's newest evening-length work, Formosa, takes the homeland as inspiration for a work of abstract beauty born from land and lore. Using gesture, script, song and other elements from the island as raw material, Lin and dancers create a lustrous, transfigured sphere in which only the universal remains a playground of love and life, mediated by tragedy, hope and rebirth. Recorded music by award-winning indigenous singer Sangpuy serves as the soundtrack as the dancers stomp, sway, dash and dart. With unparalleled grace, they mingle in intimations of community, making tribal ritual and urban bustle seem as one. Luminous projected images of Chinese character typefaces, interlocked and overlapped, provide the stunning visual backdrop. Devoid of specific meanings, they merge in teeming thickets to evoke a host of imagery: mountains and rivers, earthquakes and tsunamis, ancient inscriptions, a black sun. They seem to imply writing as a precarious vehicle for memories, which blur and recombine at the whim of history's wind. At the work's end, a blue sea appears amid the characters, only to wash them away in the waves.

NEW: Process v. Product Festival
In the spring, the Dance Center conducts a two-week festival focusing on ways in which concert dance presentation can be a document of process rather than dance as a consumable product. Process v. Product invites choreographers, dancers, presenters, students of dance and audiences to consider and reflect on ideas around how and why the creation, practice and witness of dancing can be more than a product for paying spectators. Two companies are participating:

Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak
March 29-31, 2018
FamilyDance Matinee: March 31
Shanahan's world premiere ensemble work Of Whales, Time, and Your Last Attempt to Reach Me stems from her "ambivalence about being drawn, on the one hand, toward an addictive, robotic-like reliance on, use of and escape through smartphones and social media and, on the other hand, to an envisioned body and future more about fluidity than form. These two worlds have in common the ineffability of imagined connections: the first draw is rooted in technology's invisible mastery of air and the second in the body's invisible fluidity. In this push-pull, replicated around me in ways I fear, judge, avoid, despise and long for, my relationships appear to suffer, yet improve. My body feels strange, foreign, gripped with longing, yet full of potential. I am jarred when the beauty of actual sunlight suddenly seems like a virtual creation of this technological dominion."

Bebe Miller Company
April 5-7, 2018
Dancing in The Making Room is a suite of new dance works based on the dynamics of adaptation and translation. Inspired by the writings of Gertrude Stein, Toni Morrison and David Foster Wallace, whose voices capture diverse cultural relevancies through their structure of language, Dancing in The Making Room looks at the syntax of movement-how we apprehend meaning through the juxtaposed dynamics of action and context in time and space. Miller is creating this work within an overarching collaborative project, The Making Room, an investigation into innovative ways of sharing the creative process.

Fall: October 27 and 28, 2017
Spring: April 13 and 14, 2018
Each semester, a free mini-festival celebrates the cultures, histories and aesthetics of hip-hop and street-dance forms, such as breaking, popping and Chicago footwork. With a jam as the focal point, blurring the lines between spectator and participant and spotlighting some of the most talented street dancers in the region going head to head in dance battles, the B-Series is a gathering space where all can learn through and connect to the rich culture of hip hop. Subscriptions to the Dance Center's 2017-18 season go on sale June 5, and single tickets go on sale July 5 at the Dance Center, by phone at 312-369-8330 and online at All performances take place at the Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., except Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, which takes place at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph. All programming is subject to change. The theatre is accessible to people with disabilities. For information, visit The Dance Center
The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago is the city's leading presenter of contemporary dance, showcasing artists of regional, national and international significance. The Dance Center has been named "Chicago's Best Dance Theatre" by Chicago magazine, "Best Dance Venue" by the Chicago Reader and Chicago's top dance venue in 2014 by Newcity, and Time Out Chicago cited it as "...consistently offering one of Chicago's strongest lineups of contemporary and experimental touring dance companies." Programs at the Dance Center are supported, in part, by the Alphawood Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for the Arts and Culture at Prince, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Irving Harris Foundation, Arts Midwest Touring Fund and the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project. Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Special thanks to Friends of the Dance Center for their generous contributions to the Dance Center's work.

Photo credit: LIU Chen-hsiang

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