Ensemble Espanol’s ‘Raices’ shows flamenco’s roots and mostly moves beyond the fans and ruffles

"Indeed, flamenco’s roots are as deep and complex as Spain itself, which is perhaps why Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater is still able to excavate new and interesting material after 41 years of making dances. Through Sunday at Skokie’s North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, the company’s most recent program, “Raices,” which literally means “roots,” touches on flamenco’s cultural origins as well as those of Chicago’s longest-standing, best-known presenter of Spanish dance."
-Lauren Warnecke, Chicago Tribune

Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater to perform in 26th annual Dance for Life Chicago

The 26th annual Dance for Life Chicago will exemplify Chicago’s versatile and virtuoso dance community with the eight companies that are performing August 19 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Chicago Dancers United (CDU), which mobilizes Chicago’s dance community by raising funds through dance, presents this annual benefit performance, which is preceded by a gala reception at the Hilton Chicago.
 
The Partner Dance Companies that perform each year are Giordano Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Joffrey Ballet. Joining these annual participants this year are a collaboration between Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater and Trinity Irish Dance Company; Jessica Miller Tomlinson Choreography; and Visceral Dance Chicago. The concert concludes with a celebratory grand finale work choreographed by Randy Duncan.
 
Dance for Life Chicago is the annual benefit dance concert presenting and showcasing the city’s unique diversity of talent, dance traditions and styles by bringing together talented, world-renowned professional dancers from Chicago for one night on the same stage. The dance community unites artistically to support those affected by critical health and other life issues by generously donating their time, energy and artistry to the cause. During the past 25 years, Dance for Life Chicago has presented 33 Chicago-based, professional dance companies and numerous choreographers. Proceeds from Dance for Life Chicago support The Dancers’ Fund, which provides assistance to members of the dance community coping with critical health and life issues, and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

 
 

Chicago Tap Theatre's presents CHANGES 6/30-7/16

Artistic Director Mark Yonally and Chicago Tap Theatre (CTT) are proud to present Changes, a science fiction tap dance story show set to all-new arrangements of the music of David Bowie, directed by Harrison McEldowney, based on an original show created by Chicago Tap Theatre, choreography by Yonally with musical arrangements and direction by Kurt Schweitz, June 30 - July 16, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave.

James Sewell Ballet and OHS bands team up for unique Band It concert Sunday

The Owatonna High School bands will provide the musical soundtrack for a performance of the James Sewell Ballet in a one-of-a-kind show at 4 p.m. Sunday in the OHS gym.

“This is definitely unique,” said Peter Guenther, director of bands at OHS. Simply put, a collaboration of this type in Owatonna between OHS musicians and a ballet company, he said, “has not been done before.”

Chicago Tap Theatre Named one of the Best Dance of 2016 by the Chicago Tribune for We Will Tap You!

"Chicago Tap Theatre with "We Will Tap You!" at the Athenaeum Theatre in June: Led by fearless Mark Yonally, this company has never hesitated to go out on a limb. But tap dance got a major shot in the arm with the vastly entertaining variety show "We Will Tap You!," set entirely to Queen songs (played live) and performed the night before Chicago's Gay Pride Parade. Major props to hilarious MC Mattrick Swayze and his dotty Swayzettes, but also to the stunt bicyclist, the marching band, the cheerleaders and the CTT dancers. Way to have fun."

-By Laura Molzahn

Chicago Tap Theatre named Best New Production for Time Steps in Dance Magazine

 
 

Time Steps - Best New Production by Dance Magazine 2016

"It isn’t easy to use tap to tell a psychologically nuanced and narratively complex story. Yet that is exactly what Chicago Tap Theatre did to riveting effect with Time Steps, a tale of romance, time travel, unexpected encounters and mortality. This wasn’t the first time CTT and its artistic director and choreographer Mark Yonally have spun stories through tap; past productions have dealt with everything from Chicago gangsters to the rock band Queen. But Time Steps turned out to be particularly haunting as it posed the questions: What if a time salesman could offer you the chance to revisit important moments in your life? Would you do anything differently? The sense of time moving backward and forward was skillfully suggested by counterclockwise circling and light, and the nervousness that comes with an interaction between strangers was conjured by alternately hesitant and excited taps. Each character had their own tap language and inflection, and each relationship played out with a distinctive back-and-forth of emotional footwork."

-By Guillermo Perez, Madeline Schrock, Hedy Weiss and Lauren Wingenroth