Dance Fest Explores Process V. Product, 3/29- 4/7

Dance Fest Explores Process V. Product, 3/29- 4/7To conclude the 2017-18 season of its Dance Presenting Series, the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago 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. The festival takes place March 29-April 7 at the Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

Process v. Product-which features performances, workshops, artist discussions, panels and commissioned blog posts from local artists-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 spectators. Participating companies include Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak and Bebe Miller Company.

Performance series
Shanahan's world premiere ensemble work Of Whales, Time, and Your Last Attempt to Reach Me grapples with emotional ambivalence in a world of perception-altering technology and digitally dependent relationships. Through Shanahan's intricately crafted movement, the Mad Shak ensemble investigates and expresses the tension between the rigid materiality of the self, as reflected by the devices and media surrounding our lives, and the body's invisible fluidity in response to those same influences. This work is set at the intersection of conflict, where constantly shifting input confirms identity in one moment and then throws it off-kilter the next. Performances are March 29-31.

Miller's In a Rhythm 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, In a Rhythm looks at the syntax of movement-how we apprehend meaning through the juxtaposed dynamics of action and context in time and space. From the Columbus Underground:

Syntax is a key piece of how we negotiate our existence in the world, and Miller and her dancers turn an unblinking eye on the way we are with one another and the way we exist in society. ...Miller and her dancers know the body is packed with metaphor just by breathing and touching another person. She also understands the joy of movement. Her rapport with co-writer and assistant Angie Hauser is a gleeful delight throughout the piece... should be a must-see for any arts lover. The work I've seen this year that most successfully takes the temperature of our fractured, terrifying, bloodied moment.

Miller is creating this work within an overarching collaborative project, The Making Room, an investigation into innovative ways of sharing the creative process. Performances are April 5-7.

Additional festival activities
In addition to the performances, Process v. Product features a number of events, including:

  • Thursday, March 29: post-performance discussion with Molly Shanahan, led by Allen & Lynn Turner Chair and Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance Peter Carpenter; free to ticket holders
  • Friday, March 30, 6 p.m. Sherwood Community Music School's recital hall, 1312 S. Michigan Ave. (next door to the Dance Center): Process Prism Panel, moderated by Chicago Dancemakers Forum Executive Director Ginger Farley and featuring Meida McNeal, artistic and managing director of Honey Pot Performance; Sabina Ott, artist and founder of the exhibition space Terrain; Tony Trigilio, poet and Professor of Creative Writing/Poetry at Columbia; and Sara Zalek, artist, choreographer and curator rooted in Butoh; free
  • Saturday, March 31, 3-4:30 p.m., the Dance Center: "Swimming Inside: Diving in the Whales Process with Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak," a workshop with Shanahan and her collaborators exploring the process to create the piece in performance during the festival, $10
  • Sunday, April 1, 3-5 p.m., Links Hall at Constellation, 3111 N. Western Ave.: Sunday Snack Choreo-Chat, an informal discussion with Molly Shanahan and Bebe Miller about their latest works, their joys and frustrations in the choreographic process, how they deal with post-premiere blues and more-primarily for artists who make dances and anyone who might like to make a dance in the future, but all are welcome; free
  • Thursday, April 5: post-performance discussion with Bebe Miller, led by the Dance Center's Interim Dance Presenting Series Director Ellen Chenoweth; free to ticket holders
  • Friday, April 6, 6 p.m., Sherwood Community Music School's recital hall, 1312 S. Michigan Ave. (next door to the Dance Center): Process Prism Panel, moderated by Columbia Associate Professor of Dance Lisa Gonzales and featuring Christy Bolingbroke, executive/artistic director of the National Center for Choreography in Akron, Ohio; CM Burroughs, poet and Columbia assistant professor of poetry; Mark Jeffery, co-founder and choreographer of ATOM-r (Anatomical Theatres of Mixed Reality); and Onye Ozuzu, choreographer; free
  • Saturday, April 7, 2-5 p.m., the Dance Center and the lakefront: "iLANDing Field Trip," a workshop with Jennifer Monson researching urban ecologies with movement-based scores; participants will dance, draw and map based on their observations of the human and non-human forces that shape the lakefront; the workshop is modeled on iLANDing, a method of interdisciplinary collaboration that evolved out of iLAND's programs; $15

The Dance Center presents Process v. Product,
featuring performances by Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak March 29-31
and performances by Bebe Miller Company April 5-7,
Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. at the Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave.
Single tickets are $30; groups of 10 or more receive a 30% discount.

The participation fee for Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak's workshop
Saturday, March 31 at 3 p.m. at the Dance Center is $10.
The participation fee for Jennifer Monson's workshop
Saturday, April 7 at 2 p.m. at the Dance Center is $15.
All other events are free of charge.

For performance tickets and workshop participation,
please call 312-369-8330 or visit
All programming is subject to change.
The theatre is accessible to people with disabilities.

Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak
Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak (MS/MS) supports innovation and collaboration though the development and presentation of dance performances and other programs that engage the public in a deeper understanding and appreciation of the creative process. MS/MS supports Shanahan's movement and performance research and the public presentation of her singular contributions to dance, which include solo and ensemble projects/performances and service to the field through professional-level teaching. Core values stem from the belief that creation and performance foster a sense of community and inspire artist and witness to experience themselves and each other at a deeper level.

Bebe Miller Company
The mission of Bebe Miller Company is to support the artistic vision of choreographer Bebe Miller in creative, cross-disciplinary explorations and in creating and performing new works. Miller's vision of dance and performance resides in her faith in the moving body as a record of thought, experience and sheer beauty. Her aesthetic relies on the interplay of a work's idea, its physicality and the contributions of company members to fashion its singular voice. Seeking to expand the language of dance, Miller's work encompasses choreography, writing, film, video and digital media. Committed to keeping dance available to a wide spectrum of people, the company is also dedicated to providing access to the creative process and expression to diverse people in a community.

The Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak performances at the Dance Center are funded, in part, by The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. The Dance Center presentation of Bebe Miller Company is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

The Dance Center
Following Process v. Product, the B-Series, a free mini-festival of hip-hop and street dance forms, takes place April 13-14.

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 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 Illinois Arts Council Agency, the Martha Struthers Farley and Donald C. Farley Jr. Family Foundation, the Irving Harris Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as well as the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Illinois Arts Council and the Crane Group. Special thanks to Friends of the Dance Center for their generous contributions to the Dance Center's work.

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