Giordano Dance Chicago performed Randy Duncan’s Can’t Take This Away, which premiered in 1997. Featuring 15 dancers and set to music performed live by The Bournés Family, the piece, according to Lynn Shapiro of SeeChicagoDance, featured “buoyant leaps and spirals [that] well could usher any soul to heaven, and in fact, gave a great preview of the hereafter for the living fortunate enough to experience their performance.”
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performed two works. Jardi Tancat was choreographed by Nacho Duato for three couples and set to Catalan music recorded by vocalist María del Mar Bonet. Catalonian for “Closed Garden,” the piece reveals this appeal in the movements of sowing, planting and threshing of the barren Catalonian land. Crystal Pite’s solo, A Picture of You Falling was danced by retiring Hubbard Street company member, Jason Horton.
The Joffrey Ballet performed Joy choreographed by Alexander Ekman to music by Django Django. Commissioned by The Joffrey in association with Cal Performances, University of California, Berkeley, the piece received its world premiere in April 2017 during The Joffrey’s spring program at the Auditorium Theatre. “To observe dancers feeling joy on stage is contagious,” Ekman said. “Joy is my 47th piece, created in only two weeks in Chicago. For the first time in a long time, I wanted to just arrive in the studio without preparing too much. I wanted to see what the dancers would bring to the piece. The turnout is something completely different than I expected—that is, the pure joy of creating in the moment. To be open to dancers’ talents and unique expressions can bring personality and depth to the work. Through playing we have come up with this quirky universe.”
Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater and Trinity Irish Dance Company together performed In the Meantime, choreographed by Lane Alexander, Maggie Eileen Doyle and Claudia Pizarro. According to the collaborators, rhythm and percussive dance are sophisticated, elastic and ancient languages with many distinct dialects. Even as these dialects have multiplied and evolved over millennia, the root is so strong that we are still able to understand each other and freely admire the sound and feel of the “other.” In the Meantime is a celebration of our distinct cultures and a recognition of our common impulses and the universal desire to make rhythm.
Jessica Miller Tomlinson Choreography performed In Tongues, an abstract work loosely based on the quirky, over-the-top stage persona of Talking Heads vocalist David Byrne, set to the band’s music.
Visceral Dance Chicago performed Ruff Celts, choreographed by Marguerite Donlon, who, inspired by the dancers’ personalities, uses a mixed score of contemporary Irish and German composers in this dynamic, dark-humored work. A fusion of contemporary and deconstructed technical vocabularies defines this sharp-witted, quirky, full-company work that has become a crowd favorite.